Dec. 23, 2018 – West Bend, WI – It is the third Sunday of Advent and on Saturday night Rev. Pat Heppe, dressed in purple vestments, took a moment to bless the Rolfs Nativity on Eighth Avenue.
At the end of 4 p.m. Mass Rev. Heppe talked a bit about some national attention being drawn to West Bend and the Rolfs Nativity.
“Last week a reporter from the New York Times was here,” he said. “He interviewed folks at the Downtown West Bend Association and came over here to Holy Angels because he heard about the nativity that was vandalized last year.”
Rev. Heppe went through a brief retelling of how the nativity stood for years in front of the Amity building and in 2017 was in Old Settlers’ Park in downtown West Bend where the baby Jesus figure was stolen.
Parishioner Terry Vrana got a hold of the remnants of the figure and carved a new head for the baby Jesus and reattached the hands. On Saturday, in front of about two dozen parish members, Rev. Heppe gave a blessing and Vrana placed the baby Jesus in the creche.
“The practice of erecting such mangers was a practice begun by Saint Francis of Assisi as a means to set forth the message of Christmas,” said Heppe. “When we look upon these figures, especially these historic figures, the Christmas Gospel comes alive and we are moved to rejoice in the mysteries in the incarnation of the Son of God.”
As the church bell tolled sharp in the cold, dark, night Rev. Heppe blessed the nativity with holy water.