Vatican Nativity scene, tree to be unveiled early for Year of Mercy

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November 19, 2015

The Christmas tree is positioned in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 19. The tree is an 82-foot spruce fir from Germany's Bavarian region. It arrived earlier than usual to be ready for the Dec. 8 opening of the Holy Year of Mercy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See VATICAN-CHRISTMAS-TREE Nov. 18, 2015.

The Christmas tree is positioned in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Nov. 19. The tree is an 82-foot spruce fir from Germany’s Bavarian region. It arrived earlier than usual to be ready for the Dec. 8 opening of the Holy Year of Mercy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Christmas tree and Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square will be set up and unveiled earlier than usual this year to be ready for the opening of the Year of Mercy.

In preparation for the extraordinary event, which begins Dec. 8 with the opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican workmen broke through the masonry that had walled off the door.

Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the basilica, led a small ceremony that included prayers and a procession Nov. 17, the eve of the anniversary of the basilica’s dedication in 1626.

Read more in The Visitor…