Church's Nativity Scene Features More than 300 Statues

NEW YORK (AP) - The three wise men who visited the baby Jesus in
a New York church's Nativity scene four decades ago have been
joined over the years by hundreds of shepherds, peasants and other

This Christmas season, the Nativity scene at St. Athanasius Catholic Church in Brooklyn measures 20 feet wide by 16 feet deep.

Italian immigrant Antonio Vigilante says when he started the Nativity scene it was just a little house and about a dozen statues. This year it boasts 30 houses, more than 300 figures and even a babbling brook.

But the original manger scene remains at the center of the sprawling display.

Vigilante says without the Nativity scene, it isn't Christmas.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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