CNA Newsroom, Nov 25, 2022 / 13:00 pm (CNA).
At the initiative of the Vicariate Center of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, this Christmas the “balconeras” are arriving in Argentina, a resource to put Christ again at the center of the celebration.
The proposal, which originated in Uruguay, consists of placing an image of the Nativity scene on doors, windows, balconies, stained-glass windows, counters, or vehicles to remind people that “Christmas is Jesus.”
The 28- by 16-inch cloth panels imprinted with an image of Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus in the manger are often placed on balconies facing the street, which is why they are called “balconeras.”
The organizers of the initiative want it to be established as a tradition so that the powerful impact of the image will bear witness to the coming of Christ.
The cloth balconeras are made in workshops at Sacred Heart of Jesus Basilica, a place where young people in the Barracas neighborhood in Buenos Aires with problematic drug use receive accompaniment.
The pastor of the basilica, Father Sebastián García, told the AICA news agency that the community received the proposal very positively and that requests are increasing day by day.
“Many people who can’t set up a Nativity scene have lost that tradition, or this Christmas are half hopeless, have this proposal that the visible place in our house can be a witness bearing the image of the Nativity,” he said.
The priest highlighted the missionary meaning of the idea, “so that all the people who see it can feel the same thing.” Given the multiplicity of offers that there are at Christmas, “we believe that the Christian one is the best and the most important, and also the one we share,” he said.
The proposal envisions the possibility that people can take more to share with someone who needs one, and thus encourage hope.
In Uruguay, where balconeras have been placed for several Christmases, people are invited to hang them beginning Dec. 8 and also to pray the Dawn Rosary during the Immaculate Conception novena at four locations in the capital, Montevideo.
In addition, people are asked to bring the baby Jesus from the manger to get it blessed, organize a work of mercy in the community, and pray a prayer on Christmas Eve as a family.
Beginning in 2018 in Montevideo, in addition to the balconeras, the faithful began lighting the “Light of Bethlehem” in parishes and homes.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
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