Commemorating Jesus’ birth and more than 100 years of foreign mission service by the U.S. Catholic Church, the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, also known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, offers a variety of Christmas ornaments and holiday crafts that include many made by the people from countries where Maryknoll serves in mission. All items are available at the Maryknoll Mission Center Gift Shop, 55 Ryder Road in Ossining.
The ornaments, crafts and gifts from around the world include a variety of nativity scenes, children’s books and flameless candles. See the video.
A marquetry wood nativity scene from Bolivia was crafted by a Bolivian artist and can be held in the palm of the hand. The three-panel scene ($29.95) can be placed on a table or on a sturdy Christmas tree branch. Marquetry is the art of inlaying different woods, or other natural materials, to create a picture. For babies, a nativity mobile ($25) includes the Angel Gabriel, Joseph, Mary cradling the baby Jesus along with the three wise men, stars and a donkey, sheep and camel.
Ornaments available this year have arrived from Peru, Nepal, Bethlehem and the Philippines. Each is sold separately and the price range is $2–$22. The ornaments include handmade traditional candy cane-colored “mittens” from Nepal that are strung as garland or sold individually as mini ornaments.
The “tree of life” design adorns several ornaments and crafts this season. An ornament from Bethlehem ($18) is made from genuine olive wood. A shesham wood trivet ($16) can be used in the kitchen or as a wall decoration. An eight-inch candleholder ($35) from Peru is painted in modern earth tones and will match any décor.
Candles And Trees
Flameless 1.75-inch high unscented LED wax-covered candles are available two per package ($8.40). Scented candles come three per box ($16.50). Remote control flameless candles of various sizes for tabletops and mantles (set of three for $44.94) can be programmed for four-hour and eight-hour settings.
The three-inch high white Christmas tree candles (two for $9.96) contain a light that frequently changes color while the gold trees remain lit. A 10-inch angel tree topper or table decoration ($13) from the Philippines is made from sisal, a stiff fiber traditionally used to make twine or rope.
Cards and Book Ideas
Maryknoll’s 2012 Christmas card features the statue of Our Lady of Maryknoll that is found in the quadrangle at the Maryknoll Mission Center Building in New York. The statue was a gift from a Maryknoll benefactor during the 1920s and it was carved by Giacomo Mussner of Ortisei, Italy. It resides in a kiosk built by Maryknoll Brothers and seminarians.
The card greeting reads: Christ’s birth Shines through the darkness, And brings us Tidings of comfort...Tidings of joy!
A package of 12 cards costs $10, or a single card is $1.
Gift suggestions from Orbis Books, Maryknoll’s publishing company, are A Maryknoll Book of Inspiration and Sister Wendy’s Bible Treasury. The first is a collection of inspirational and enriching readings for each day of the year while the latter is a journey through the Scriptures that combines stories from the Bible with some of the greatest artwork of all time. All Orbis Books are discounted 40 percent at the Maryknoll Gift Shop.
For young children, Maryknoll offers The First Christmas ($5.95) and My Nativity Jigsaw book with six nine-piece puzzles ($9.95). For older children, The Nativity--From the Gospels of Mathew and Luke (14.99) provides the story of Christmas. Also available is a milk chocolate Advent calendar ($9.29) made with fair trade cocoa beans from Ghana.
Most of the items made in Maryknoll mission lands were brought back to the U.S. by Maryknoll priests and Brothers. Items are available in person only at the Maryknoll Gift Shop located at the Maryknoll Mission Center, 55 Ryder Road, Ossining, New York, 10562. (For directions: www.maryknollsociety.org/travel .) Hours are Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.