Special nativity display returns to Westbury church

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WESTBURY -

The decades-old Christmas tradition called Presepio is back again this year in Westbury.

The elaborate nativity scene is now on display for the beginning of the Advent season of Christmas at St. Brigid's Catholic Church.

An army of volunteers worked for several weeks to set up the intricate display.

Father Tony Stanganelli, Pastor of St. Brigid's, says the tradition of displaying the Presepio has touched the hearts of many who see it.

"On a cold, winter, January day, I was locking up the church ... somebody came in and said, 'Oh father, is the church open? We drove all the way from the Bronx to see the Presepio.' I said, 'OK, I will open it,'" says Stanganelli. "We find out that this has become special for people all across the island."

The Presepio represents the journey of Mary and Joseph as they make their way to Bethlehem, eventually ending up there on Christmas Day.

The creation is a moving, living piece of art. During each week of advent, the holy family moves closer to Bethlehem, traveling through the small town scenes which includes a replica of St. Brigid's, a cast of biblical characters and a towering tree decorated with 56 angels and cherubs.

The Presepio contains 3,000 pieces and has been a part of the church's celebration for nearly 30 years. It will be on display through Jan. 19.

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