Presepio at St. Agnes

At St. Agnes in St. Paul there is always a very fine presepio, or creche, or nativity scene.  Here are a couple images.

And here is one of those details which you just can’t plan:


The sanctuary is nice this year:


Solemn Mass is sung in the afternoons during the Octave, following sung vespers:


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. danphunter1 says:

    Magnificent sanctuary and altar, Father.
    Where do you come by these?

  2. EDG says:

    What beautiful Nativity figures! I maintain a website on Spanish Nativity figures. The St. Agnes figures look Austrian to me, or possibly Italian. They’re wonderful, in any case.

    I’m very happy to see that various folks at the Vatican have been trying to encourage the building of Nativity Scenes recently. I think it’s a wonderful way to gently spread the Faith, not to mention being a great activity for families to work on in the weeks before Christmas.

  3. Thaliarch says:

    Father Z,

    Do you know of any U.S. parishes besides St. John Cantius and St. Agnes which celebrate the Latin Novus Ordo ad orientem?

    Thank you.

  4. AlexB says:


    In Detroit, St. Joseph, Holy Family, and Assumption Grotto celebrate the Latin NO ad orientem.

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, … Wowie, zowie, big time impressive!

    But on Christmas Day in little St. Therese Catholic Church in the rural outvirons of Knoxville (TN) I attended an ad orientem Latin Novus Ordo Mass with Gregorian chant, Roman vestments, smells and bells, communion kneeling, on the tongue by intinction. And the attendance at this 11 am Mass was three times that at the 9 am vernacular versus populum Mass.

    Back to the big time … Of course, all Latin Masses in Mother Angelica’s Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament (AL) are ad orientem, whether ordinary or extraordinary form.

    So I suspect ad orientem Latin Novus Ordi are scattered here and there all over, just not so well publicized as the biggies.

    We hear so much in blogdom about the prevalence of bad liturgy that it’s easy to forget that lots of people enjoy good liturgy (as do I at a daily vernacular versus populum Mass, as well as at Sunday TLM).

  6. Diane K says:

    Fr. Z,

    I think that is the first time I’ve seen the top of the sanctuary with the dove at St. Agnes. It is very beautiful. If you get a chance in the future, try to get a full shot of that area.

    There is a spirituality that is often missed with regards to this feature. In fact, I never knew about it until Fr. Perrone pointed it out – that under the baldacchino of the altar is always a dove (at least in Churches that are not built by namby-pamby architects). I now look for the dove in every parish, especially the older ones.

    They are noticeably absent in newer parishes, sadly.

  7. Oh, I miss St. Agnes! I can\’t wait to come back home in the spring! Thanks for the wonderful pictures, Father.

  8. Mary says:

    God willing I will get to visit St. Agnes at long last next month! I live rather far from Minnesota but I am a fan. I hope I will be able to deal with the weather.

  9. Allan Potts says:

    St. Mary Parish in Escondido, CA has a Latin Novus Ordo, once a month that is celebrated ad orientem, by a very good pastor.

  10. Josiah says:

    My parish,Our lady of Lourdes in Philadelphia has one every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Comminion rail,communion plates and other nice stuff (Including the best vestments) here are some pictures from easter
    (There are more from other days in the collection). I’ll be in St. Paul over the summer, I hope to visit S.Agnes.

  11. Jenny Z says:

    That sanctuary is breathtaking… thanks for posting, Father!

  12. It’s a beautiful place – it is near my seminary so I usually attend Sunday Vespers and sing them in the sanctuary. I hope to be there for Vespers on January 13.

  13. Matt Q says:

    Great pictures of the church at Christmas. Quite beautiful. I see the vandalizers haven’t gotten their paws on that church, unless it has been restored. Again, quite beautiful.

    In that last picture, is that a priest we happen to know. Looks like him anyway. In drawing attention to the picture, look closely at the priest’s head. It seems like there’s a halo around it. Quite interesting. ;)

  14. Peter Nelson says:

    I managed to talk my wife into going to St. Agnes for midnight mass this Christmas eve; which is no big deal, except we brought our 20-month old daughter, and our 3-month old son. A hearty thanks goes out to freshly ordained Father Steven Hoffman who must have granted my request for special prayers to get us through the experience (the prayers of a new priest, eh!) We had to step out of turn to get communion, and left immediately afterwards (something we positively never! do), but we made it all the way to 1:20AM. Everything was sublime, as you can well imagine. We arrived at 10PM thinking it would be packed, and had the place pretty much to ourselves. Advice to other parents: you can arrive up to 11:30PM and still get a pew. The highlight of the evening for our 20-month old daughter was the procession bringing “baby Jeejee” up to the creche. They stopped right in front of us (we were in the last row) for a while, so she got a good long look. Earlier, during the carols, around 11:30PM, she noticed the cherubim over the windows, and started pointing all around the ceiling and saying “more baby”. It took awhile to realize what she was talking about. The whole evening and liturgy was magical. As for our 3-month old son, he slept peacefully through the whole thing. What a gift. I wish we lived close enough to go every day. Getting home around 2:30AM, we all felt we had definitely “sacrificed for Jesus”; sacrificed sleep, at any rate. But it also felt great, like Christmas should. Holy. If you’re reading this, please pray for us that we can do it again next year. By the way, does anyone know if the song by “Schuler” sung around 11:20PM was by our famous Monsignor? And another thing, was Father Z. actually a celebrant that night? If so, I didn’t recognize him from his pictures.

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