So far, we’ve heard from 2 belenistas or Nativity Scene builders about their projects for this year.
Bill Egan, Christmas Historian, a retired Navy photojournalist who lives in Florida, recently built a scene that was on display for two days in October at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona Beach. He built and displayed it in October in hopes of inspiring viewers to create their own Nativity Scenes for this Christmas and giving them some ideas of how to go about it.
Bill Egan uses Fontanini figures, which are resin figures from Italy, and builds his buildings out of foamcore and Styrofoam. He works on them all year and creates precise, perfectly finished and polished structures and scenes, such as those shown here. He hopes to encourage Americans to learn about and build these scenes.
As part of his campaign to encourage the building of Nativity Scenes, Bill Egan maintains an excellent website, Bill Egan’s International Creche School. Not only does Bill – whose title is “Christmas Historian” – provide interesting historical detail on many different national traditions, but he also offers detailed instructions on scene construction and techniques.
Bill is extremely active and maintains another website, Christmas World, which describes various Christmas traditions, and also a very worthwhile Yahoo Groups bulletin board, where members of the group participate in discussions of their scenes.
Finally, we have news from Nebraska. Belenista José Herrero is working with friends to complete a 28 by 12 foot Belén for Cristo Rey Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. He created a beautiful scene in 2006, and this year’s is even more magnificent, particularly since he is employing techniques he learned on a trip to Italy last year with the Asociación de Belenistas de Madrid. He also went to the Holy Land with the Madrid association this year, and is adding details gathered from what he saw in the real Bethlehem.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photographs, but the Lincoln Journal Star has published an article about his upcoming Belén, which will provide you with more details. Photos will be posted as soon as they become available.
Finally, back to Florida again, where I have published an article in St Augustine Catholic, the diocesan magazine, encouraging families to build Nativity Scenes with their children, based on the Spanish tradition of creating the entire town of Bethlehem and scenes from the Gospel accounts of the Infancy. The article is not yet in the on-line version of the magazine, but I will post it when it appears.