Nativity scene set for season

Wilson Fernandez with his nativity scene at St Elizabeth's Parish church. 111979

The story of the birth of Christ has been told beautifully each year for the past decade at St Elizabeth’s Parish church in Dandenong North by a most impressive nativity display.
Wilson Fernandez is the creative force behind the magnificent nativity.
Wilson starts planning his creation six months before Christmas spending some 250 hours perfecting the scene, utilising 61 handcrafted models and 236 figurines.
“The project commences at least six months in advance when I mind map what is to be created each year and I work towards logistics and project planning aspects,” said Wilson, who works as a quality assurance specialist with an engineering firm.
His estimate of materials used include 480 kilograms of sand, one square metre of natural rocks and stones, litres of environmentally friendly paint, 10 kilograms of exterior building materials, polystyrene sheets of varying sizes, two kilograms of screws, a 3.5 metres by 5.5 metre screen, and all forms of packaging materials.
The scene displays a regular village life with villagers, traders, travellers, farmers and animals.
The scenes are changed each week to reflect the Christmas story.
In week one, Wilson introduces the entry of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
Mr Fernandez is of Indian origin and grew up in a small town on the south west coastal region south of Goa.
He created his first nativity crib at the age of 14.
To mark the 10th annivesary of the St Elizabeth nativity, the Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart celebrated a vigil mass at the church on Saturday night before blessing the nativity scene.
The nativity is open for viewing until 12 January from 9am until 5pm.
To find out more go to the facebook site at www.facebook.com/AustralianNativityScene

Volunteer for protection
The Australian Animal Protection Society’s shelter in Keysborough will close for the Christmas holidays on 17 December and re-open on 16 January.
It is preferred that donors of goods to sell in the shelter’s shop do not leave items during that period.
The president of the shelter’s committee Jenny Michael in the summer magazine thanked all volunteers for their work during 2013.
She also made an urgent appeal for more volunteers to help in the shop for 2014.
“Our volunteers do a wonderful job in difficult conditions… boiling hot in summer, freezing and sometimes wet in winter.
“However, despite this they are able to smile all the time.”
The shop’s opening hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8.30am until 2.30pm.
Ms Michael said help in the shop, even for half a day a week, would be appreciated.
She had special words of appreciation for Gwen who knits blankets and Janette who knits dog coats, describing their work as “fantastic”.
Volunteers are also needed to help with gardening, answering phones, socialise with animals, bedding and keeping storage areas tidy.
Anyone who can regularly devote some of their time can download a volunteer form at the AAPS website and email it to aapsvolunteer@gmail.com.

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