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Christmas story told in ‘carrozas’

The Holy Family is depicted in one of the carriages featured in a parish pageant in San Jose del Monte City. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE — The Christmas story was imparted to the young on Sunday night when 26 “carrozas” (carriages) rolled through the streets here carrying living dioramas that portrayed 26 stages of Jesus Christ’s life beginning with the story of his birth.

Volunteers dressed as characters of the Bible and were carried in a mobile “belen” (the traditional Nativity scene), in what had become an annual pageant initiated by Fr. Ibarra Mercado of the Sagrada Familia parish in Barangay Sapang Palay here.

Mercado conceptualized the project in 2015 as his parish’s response to the Catholic Church’s call for “new evangelization.”

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“We routinely parade beauty queens and movie stars and we applaud them. We honor Christ only during Lent. Why not do the same during Christmas and tell the story of Christ’s birth?” he said.

“We should be giving him a gift, a special gift, because what he gave us is far more special: His Life.”

Mercado said tales of Christ’s life as a child would inspire not just parishioners but also millennials, who are often exposed to commercialized Christmas celebrations.

“Christmas is our Lord’s birthday. What is more fitting to celebrate it than that of reminiscing about his life as a child. As child Jesus, we can all learn different virtues: Love, obedience and respect,” he said.

“Our parish is very passionate and serious about this project. We are convinced that the early stages in the life of Jesus is very important, inseparable and indispensable from the last stage of his life here on earth,” he said.

The four-hour pageant started at 6:30 p.m. following Mass at the Sagrada Familia parish, with the carrozas passing through major roads until 10 p.m.

Family tree

The participating actors came from other parishes and schools. Volunteers from the private sector also put up their own carrozas.

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The Christmas carroza led with a diorama detailing the family tree of Jesus in the Bible. It was followed by a carroza carrying John the Baptist, who was shown preaching to the people about repentance and mending their ways in preparation for the Messiah.

The story presented by the eighth carroza was the “Panuluyan,” or the time when no one gave the Holy Family a place to stay so Mary could give birth.

The birth of Jesus or the Nativity was the living diorama carried by the ninth carroza.

The carrozas at the tail end of the pageant depicted Jesus studying how to read and write, playing with a Filipino top to engage millennials, learning carpentry, helping Mary in the kitchen, and the tale when Jesus engaged the elders in a discussion at the temple.

The last carroza carried Santa Claus. Mercado said it portrayed the generosity, joy and goodness of God as exemplified by St. Nicholas.

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