Saturday, February 01, 2020

Fides in Fido

The new dog for the Church's Nativity scene, newly arrived from Italy;
happily sitting where it belongs for now -- on my desk
Well, I got a dog.
No, not a real dog; not a rectory hound, nor another puppy with whom to share the rectory.  I got a dog for the new Nativity set in the church!
In December, after the six new figures arrived and were arranged on the manger-platform constructed for them by Andy Greenleaf, I was convinced of their positive impact on our celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord.  It was not only the children of the parish who were captivated by their engaging beauty.
So, I said outright in my post-Christmas column that I wanted a dog, meaning a dog figure for the creche scene.  My plea got quite the response!  The rectory staff lived in trepidation that someone would appear at the door with a retriever puppy, but blessedly that has not occurred.  No, at least three people offered to donate the dog for the scene within the week.  Quickest on the draw was Nancy McNally, in memory of her late husband John McNally and his dog Dexter.  Quite often, I used to encounter the three of them out walking in the evening – a happy memory. 
Timing was everything.  I enjoyed a quick post-Christmas sojourn to Rome to visit a friend of mine who had just retired from his decades-long work for the Holy See.  While there, I went to the shop where I had found the original Holy Family group, and ordered the dog.  Since the exchange rate is so good right now (the best I recall in 18 years), and since I would have to pay shipping anyway, I added two more figures to the purchase: a herald Angel, and Caspar, one (1) of the Three Kings or Magi. 

Not Harold, but HERALD Angel.
Caspar, the friendly king, bearing his gift.
The price was very good, and the shipping was very fast.  A large box arrived at the rectory from Rome two days after I returned, precisely one week after I ordered the figures.  Like the figures we already have, the new ones are beautiful; even more attractive than I expected.  The dog is great.  So good, in fact, that various staffers have connived to have him sit on their desks instead of mine, where he belongs.  
The Angel and Caspar are both worthy additions.  I went ahead and got them “on spec” in hopes that seeing how terrific they are, someone would contribute their cost ($960 each), AND that they will show how great it would be if someone were to donate for Melchior and Balthasar, so we would have ALL THREE Kings.
There also exists the possibility of a camel (for the truly ambitious) and other farm animals, as well as people who participate in the scene.  But I think these “major players” are our priority now.  I also found out how much it would cost to get a new Nativity group, 30% larger than the carved-wood indoor set and made of weatherproof fiberglass, to replace the 75-year-old crumbling plaster figures in our outdoor creche scene.  It’s less than you’d think -- but I digress.
Not only do I have good company in the rectory, but also I got precisely the dog the parish needed.  What a gift to me and the parish!
Monsignor Smith