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Cathedral Of The Assumption, Thurles – Christmas 2017

The magnificent recently restored Cathedral of The Assumption, situated here in Cathedral Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, looks particularly attractive at Christmas time each year; enhanced by the construction of the Nativity Scene.  Same takes the form of a manger or crib located in a stable, together with other art objects (e.g. figures of the three wise men or Magi, shepherds, camels, donkeys, sheep and cattle, and of course Mary the mother of Jesus, with her husband Joseph) each and all representing and reminding us of the birth of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate and as recounted to us through Bible stories, to be found referred too, in particular, in some of the 27 books which make up the New Testament.

At this time each year the manger scene annually reminds me of the actions of my now long deceased (1969) grandmother. In her later years she would request her local friendly postman (Mr Walsh) to visit the local crib, giving him between a sixpenny piece and a half crown (latter a former denomination of money, equivalent to two shillings and sixpence or almost one day’s labourer’s pay back in the late 1950’s) to put into the collection box. The postman would remove a piece of straw from the crib and this would be placed in my grandmother’s purse, where it would remain until the following week of Christmas.

This action she assured me would guarantee that regardless of prevailing economic conditions, God would continue to supply all her needs. Strangely, I must admit that despite living in lowly impoverished circumstances all of her 90-year life span, her purse never appeared to empty, and saw her paying all her bills on time, while never having reason to be sent into hospital ever. Today our own home continues with this Christmas and Christian practise.

Of course, it is St. Francis of Assisi, (Patron Saint of Italy and one of the most venerated religious figures in our history) who is credited with creating the first live nativity scene, way back around 1223; his objective to cultivate the worship of Jesus Christ. We are given to understand that he had recently been inspired by his own personal visit to the Holy Land, where he had viewed the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ.  The nativity scene, therefore, which he presented, can be viewed as his ‘physical modern-day holiday snap’.

So if you are in and around town over Christmas or if you are attending tonight’s Service of Christmas Carols in the Cathedral of The Assumption, do visit with your kids; it makes for nostalgia; long remembered reminiscences of happy family togetherness.


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