Shrine Nativity Creche offers unique, quiet alternative to commercial Christmas


The Creche chapel includes seating for small groups, votive candles and holy water. / Courtesy of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery

HANCEVILLE – For almost all of us, the beeping and booping of price scanners and cash registers are as much sounds of the holiday season as Christmas carols.  Whether face-to-face or online, it’s hard to get away from the commercial side of Christmas.  We all shop for friends and loved ones (and The Tribune hopes its readers will patronize local businesses in Cullman County).

But just in case you need a moment now and then to clear your head and recapture the essence of the season, over the next few weeks, The Tribune will present a few things readers can do around the Cullman area to celebrate without needing to ask for gift wrap or a return receipt.

In our first installment: a unique place in a quiet rural setting that offers a meditative journey back in time.  On the grounds of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament outside Hanceville sits the Creche, an enclosed devotional grotto housing an impressive nativity set. 

And for those who like nativity sets, this one is quite impressive: a collection of Fontanini figures more than half actual life size (50-inch scale): the Holy Family, shepherds, animals, wise men and angels in a permanent year-round display.  The chapel before the display includes seating for small groups, along with votive candles and holy water.

The Shrine’s website describes the Creche as “a place of meditation on the mystery of Christmas, this little chapel is more than a simple nativity display.  The Holy Cave, or Creche, is meant to help preserve the awe and wonder of Christmas throughout the entire year.  In a unique way the Creche brings to mind the reality of what actually happened 2,000 years ago:  ‘The Word was made Flesh, He lived among us, and we saw His glory, the glory that is His as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14).  This little chapel is a year-round reminder of the Incarnation and the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

For more information on the Shrine’s attractions and programs, visit, or call 256-352-6267.

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