Saint Joachim's Procession

From the first Sunday of Advent until after the Epiphany, parishioners at Saint Joachim Catholic Church come and pray before their crèche. The handpainted plaster figures, or santon, reenact the Nativity each year in an elaborate setting in front of a side altar of the church. For the Midnight Mass celebration, the young child of a parish family is chosen to carry the infant Jesus up the central aisle of the church and place it in the crèche. Joining in this celebration of the wonder of Life, parishioners and choir serenade the procession with traditional French Christmas carols. On this occasion, the plaster baby that normally lies in the crib is replaced with a special wax figure. After Christmas the figures of the Three Wise Men mysteriously journey across the display, each day moving closer to the Nativity as the Epiphany, January 6th, draws near.