Pope Visits Roman Street Cleaners´ Christmas Crib

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 13, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II today visited an artistic Christmas crib made by Rome´s street cleaners, an event he has never missed in his 23-year pontificate.

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Giuseppe Ianni, a retired street cleaner who began this initiative 30 years ago, was among the city´s civil authorities who welcomed the Pope.

The crib gives minute details of Palestine as it was 2,000 years ago, introducing the visitor to an imposing atmosphere in the Bethlehem cave.

ZENIT asked Ianni what has inspired him to produce such a work. “I read the Gospels a lot, and everything is explained in the Gospel notes, including the color of the stones,” he said.

“I always read the Gospel which I bought in 1963,” Ianni said. “I remember that I paid for it in installments, because I loved the version that gave historic and period details.”

Over 30 years, a million people have visited this crib, among them Pope Paul VI in 1974 and Mother Teresa of Calcutta in 1996.

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