If one sees a bright star shining to the East this Christmas Eve, then they must be looking towards St. Rose Church.
Over the last three years, the Vietnamese community within the Parish has banded together to put up a detailed Nativity scene with hundreds of Christmas lights and, this year, a towering 40-foot lighted star above the Nativity.
Father Hilario Sanez Jr. of St. Rose Church said the Vietnamese community at St. Rose numbers about 400 at the weekly Mass, and is one of the largest Vietnamese congregations in all of the Archdiocese of Boston.
For the past 10 years, he said, the Vietnamese at St. Rose have been putting up the display, with it getting bigger and better every year.
“The Vietnamese community of St. Rose prepares it in the courtyard next to the church,” he said. “The community wanted to do something that would enhance the Nativity and the baby Jesus and remind people in Chelsea about the birth of Jesus. So far, all of the comments have been very positive.”
Father Sanez said he felt it was a very good idea for those in the Parish and the community to take note of the growing display.
“Individually we have to be reminded about what happened 2,000 years ago and be reminded once again about the birth of Jesus,” he said. “It does remind us that we are celebrating the joy of the life of Jesus. He was born for us in a very simple way. The display is a great reminder of that and attracts the attention of everyone going by. Everyone has said they are very happy to see the Nativity scene here. I think it’s the only one in Chelsea.”
On the day after Thanksgiving, about 20 or so parishioners from the Vietnamese congregation gather in the courtyard and, in one day, assemble the Nativity and accompanying light display. They leave it up into January and take it down after the celebration of Jesus’ baptism.
Father Sanez said he hopes people will take a moment to stop by the display and ponder the reason for the season, and come into the church as well to celebrate Mass.
“We invite people to drop by and see the display and take pictures,” he said. “We also invite everyone to stop by the church and see the Nativity inside too. Our church is open to all.”