December 20, 2023 | Local News, Your Stories
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Fr. Emmanuel Udoh (left), pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul in Hopkinsville, participated in the parish’s live nativity as one of the three kings with parishioners Pedro Rodriguez (center) and Franco Cincotti (right).  The event was held on Friday, December 15 and Saturday, December 16. COURTESY OF DAWN C. LIGIBEL

Sts. Peter and Paul host live nativity


Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hopkinsville hosted a live nativity, known as “Nativity on Ninth” due to the church’s location on 9th Street, for the second consecutive year on Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. both evenings. The event was attended by many parishioners as well as members of the community.

In addition to featuring a stable in which Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus received visitors, the “Little Town of Bethlehem” also included eight other buildings: a basket maker, butcher, baker, the inn, carpenter, synagogue, marketplace and gate.

Roman guards (Tom O’Hagan, left, and Kevin Felton, right) and a census taker (David Allard) greeted all visitors at the entrance to “Bethlehem” during Sts. Peter and Paul’s live nativity on Friday, December 15 and Saturday, December 16. COURTESY OF DAWN C. LIGIBEL

As visitors approached the town, they entered through the gate where Roman soldiers guarded the town and a census taker gave out coins which were redeemed at the bakery for a cup of hot chocolate and cookies.

Although the planning for the event was primarily handled by a committee, the parish in general showed a great deal of support.  Not only did dozens of parishioners dress in costume, including Fr. Emmanuel Udoh, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul, and Dcn. Bill Sweet, but many members of the parish participated in many other ways including: setting up the “Little Town of Bethlehem,” decorating the buildings, providing lighting, tearing down the town after the event, and baking cookies.

“The success of the Nativity was a testament to this team’s hard work and love for the Lord,” declared committee member, Lindsay Felton.  “It was also a testament to what can be achieved when we answer ‘Yes’ to God when He calls us to serve others and share His Word,” she added.

The idea for this parish-wide effort was borne by event organizer and lifelong parishioner, Sherry Viall.  As the owner of many animals, including Calvin the camel, she had been approached previously by other churches in the community to participate in their nativity events.  Last year, she decided it was time for Sts. Peter and Paul to host its own event and set out to make it the best nativity in the area.

“It really is a great way to share the good news of Jesus’ birth throughout our community,”  said Viall, who also provided calves, goats, sheep, and a small piglet named Wilbur for the event.

“I certainly hope our parish will continue to support this event well into the future,” Viall said.

Nativity on Ninth organizer, Sherry Viall, and helper Andrew Folz care for Viall’s camel, Calvin, during the live nativity event hosted by Sts. Peter and Paul in Hopkinsville on Friday, December 15 and Saturday, December 16. COURTESY OF DAWN C. LIGIBEL

Dawn C. Ligibel belongs to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hopkinsville.

Current Issue

Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Rachel Hall
Layout |  Rachel Hall
Send change of address requests to [email protected]