Maura Baker, Staff Writer
On a cold Advent night, Dec. 10, families within the Diocese of Covington gathered at St. Mary’s Park, Cathedral Square, Covington, to witness the blessing and lighting of the diocesan Christmas tree, and to be a part of the diocese’s first ever Bambinelli blessing.
The Blessing of the Bambinelli was first introduced by St. John Paul II, and is still celebrated in Vatican City and around the world, especially in Europe. This tradition involves the blessing of figurines of the infant Jesus, or “Bambinellis,” commonly used in Nativity sets during the Christmas season.
Families in the diocese were encouraged to bring their Bambinellis from their home to be presented by them-selves or their children for Bishop Iffert to bless. During the blessing, Bishop Iffert prayed that the baby Jesus’s would be a sign of God’s “abiding presence and love” to all who attended.
In addition to this extra special blessing, youth choirs from diocesan schools including Covington Catholic High School, Covington Latin School and St. Augustine School, Covington, sang carols to accompany the event. Hot chocolate was served along with cookies baked by Curia staff.
The Christmas tree in St. Mary’s Park was also blessed by Bishop Iffert, who also would light up the tree for the first time this season. This tree is decorated with ornaments designed by various schools, organizations and parishes in the Diocese, and will remain in the park for the Christmas season.
At the event, Bishop Iffert emphasized the importance of comradery and coming together as a diocese. “Back in September, we had a gathering here in the park and a nice picnic celebration. We said, we want to get together more as a Church and have these kinds of events and be together, especially this place here at St. Mary’s Park.”
Image: Bishop Iffert blesses a young boy’s Bambinelli, sprinkling it with Holy Water. (Photo by Cecilia Baker)