LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) — For the first time ever, Our Lady of Victory Basilica is displaying part of the St. Francis Nativity Museum’s nativity collection. It’s a worldly collection of nativity sets showing the birth of Jesus in the manger from all over the world.
Father Roy Herberger, the owner of the collection, says “The very idea of having the collection was the universality of Christ’s coming into the world for all people, all cultures, all nationalities, languages.”
He has spent over 30 years collecting nativity sets from 60 different countries. They all look so different and are even made out of different materials.
“I have some made out of corn, banana leaves, Coca Cola cans,” says Herberger.
The current pastor at Our Lady of Victory, Msgr. David LiPuma, says as they celebrate the Basilica’s centennial period these next four years, this exhibit is an opportunity to highlight the story of OLV.
“By having Father Roy come and bring this beautiful collection, it just invites more and more people to come and have exposure. To see the beauty, the architecture, to come in to pray, but also then to come into, to really feel it, especially this time of year, the love of God,” said LiPuma.
He says he wants people to experience acceptance and joy even in the midst of conflicts and struggles of life. He hopes that the Basilica is a place of solace, peace, and welcome.
LiPuma explains, “That’s why these nativity scenes from all over the world, different colors, different races, all kinds of different images that people can relate to in their own culture and say, oh, that’s what Jesus would look like.”
As for Herberger, he wants people to feel inspired after seeing his collection saying, “We really would like to say, ‘Why don’t you take a look at all these sets for them to go home and do something creatively yourself. You know, maybe they’ll inspire you to do something, again to give glory to God.'”
The Basilica is open every day from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. During the hours their gift shop is open (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday) hosts will be there to guide viewers through the collection and give them some history.
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