The Rev. Joseph Zalacca was dressed in blue jeans and clearly in charge as he and his parishioners prepared Holy Trinity Church in Dunkirk for the Christmas season. As he joked, "I am the one in charge; I am the boss."
There was much to do. Volunteers arranged red and white poinsettias of various sizes around the altar and tabernacle to achieve the best effect.
Some volunteers climbed step ladders to string lights on the tall evergreen trees. Volunteers Marianne Drzymala and Rosemary Rand smiled as they worked together to take ornaments out of boxes and place them on one of the trees.
OBSERVER Photos by Diane Chodan
This representation of Jesus' birth is found in Holy Trinity Church in Dunkirk. The intricate set, carved in wood, was purchased by Monsignor Richard Amico and came from Italy in the early 1980s.
Several hours later, what initially seemed disorganized presented a pleasant and reverent picture.
The last to be placed was the large nativity set. Parishioner George Civiletto said, "Monsignor Richard Amico purchased the Italian wooden set. I think it was in the early 1980s."
Civiletto climbed the ladder to place the angel on a stand above the rest of the scene. Two people were needed to move the camel, which first had to have its head screwed on. Lisa Verhague picked up some of the figures to put them nearer to where they could be placed.
She remembers the former Holy Trinity Church on Ruggles Street. "I was a member of the last communion class there," she said. She pointed out two angel altar pieces from the former church that were refurbished.
Volunteers placed straw around the figures in the scene as a reminder of Jesus' humble birth in a stable. The last figure to be placed was the baby Jesus. Rev. Zalacca lifted Angelina Rand so she could place the figure in the manger.
Rev. Zalacca explained that the decorations seem to be late this year because Christmas is early in the week.
Sunday was the last of the four Sundays in Advent, so the church was being prepared after the last of the masses. It was ready for Midnight Mass on Christmas. The decorations will remain through the Christmas season.
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