Children from all over the city walked in a living nativity procession through the flats area of Belhar on Sunday December 23.
The children were from the Neocatecumenal Way, an international Catholic missionary outreach. They were accompanied by neocatechumenal commmunities from Green Point, Lansdowne, Bridgetown and Tableview, seminarians from all over the world who are based in Rondebosch and missionary families from Germany, Italy, Mexico and South Africa.
The responsible for the Neocatechumenal Way in South Africa, Dino Furgione, an Italian missionary living in Goodwood with his pregnant wife and eight children, said the living nativity was Christ in his “natural context”.
“This is a calling that we felt from above, seeing Jesus in his natural context, a stable, a place of suffering. This is the place where Jesus Christ was born – among the outcasts. We have to go into the stable,” he said.
The procession came about in 2010 after a Belhar parishioner Dora Kordom, a great-grand-mother who lived in the flats, spoke to him about the suffering of the next generation who “don’t have anything”.
“Most of the children there have broken families. They see violence every day and have tragedies behind doors. They don’t realise what their reality is because they live in that reality every day.
“I told her I’d come back with an army,” he said, referring to the procession.
That first living nativity was so well-received that it was turned into an annual event.
“We got a lot of beautiful feedback from the parents of that area. We were walking and seeing, dancing and singing with them, doing funny stuff. They were not used to seeing that. It’s not normal for them.”
Priests concluded the procession by giving all the children who came to see the nativity an individual blessing.
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