VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI today received a delegation from the town of Luson in the province of Bolzano, part of the Italian region of Alto Adige, which has donated the Christmas tree which will decorate St. Peter's Square during the festive season this year.
The tree, which will be lit this evening during a public ceremony to be presided by Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, is a Norway spruce, thirty-four metres high and ninety-three years old. Apart from the main tree, Luson has also donated fifty smaller trees which will be used to decorate various sites in the Vatican.
The Holy Father noted that the spruce, "which stood at an altitude of 1500 metres and was cut down without damaging the forest environment, will stand next to the nativity scene until the end of the Christmas festivities".
"The Christmas tree", he went on, "enriches the symbolic value of the nativity scene, which is a message of fraternity and friendship, an invitation to unity and peace, an invitation to make space for God in our life and society. He offers us His omnipotent love through the fragile figure of a child, because He wants us to respond freely with our own love. Thus the nativity scene and the tree bear a message of hope and love, and help to create an environment in which to experience the mystery of the birth of the Redeemer in the right spiritual and religious context".
AC/ VIS 20101217 (270)