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Kristi Guillory Munzing holds an angel costume, which will be used in a live nativity presented by the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist will present a live nativity downtown Dec. 14 to celebrate the Holy Family and help the area’s homeless population.

Kristi Guillory Munzing, museum curator at the Cathedral, said the Rev. Chester Arceneaux, pastor, noted that Jesus and his parents were homeless on Christmas Eve and the living nativity marked “the perfect chance to highlight that fact” and to generate support for Catholic Charities of Acadiana, which shelters the homeless.

“As a Catholic church downtown, we are called to serve that population,” Munzing said Monday. “Here at the cathedral, we experience people who need assistance every day.”

In an issued statement, the cathedral said Catholic Charities of Acadiana provides shelter for more than 100 men, women and children every night at St. Joseph Shelter for Men, St. Michael Center for Veterans and the Emily House in Lafayette. Catholic Charities must raise about $450,000 above its grant funding to meet for the needs of the homeless, providing safe shelter, basic needs and housing planning.

Munzing said every donation is appreciated. For those who seek sponsorship opportunities, these include the following related to the Living Nativity:

  • Star of Bethlehem: $8,400 for shelter and safety for someone for a year.
  • Heavenly Host: $4,200 to provide shelter and safety for someone for six months.
  • Holy Family: $700 to provide shelter and safety for someone for a month.
  • Adoring Wiseman: $350 to provide shelter and safety for someone for two weeks.
  • Shepherd of the Flock: $175 to provide shelter and safety for someone for a week.
  • Friendly Beast: $25 to provide shelter and safety for someone for one night.

Munzing said the event, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Cathedral-Carmel School, 848 St. John St., will coincide with the downtown Art Walk, providing some respite from the celebratory events along and around Jefferson Street. The church will serve free gumbo and hot chocolate at the living nativity.

The decision to present the living nativity was made in late fall, and the church is scrambling to put the event together. Munzing said St. John borrowed a crèche from a church in Erath, costumes from St. Peter’s in New Iberia. One parishioner made a 7-foot star. Last week, the church borrowed a donkey.

“It’s been one of those ‘Holy Spirit’ movements,” she said.

Friends and parishioners are taking the roles of Holy Family, Wise Men and angels. A search for families with infants was successful.

“We’re still looking for a couple of wise men,” she said.

And, she said, they’re looking for donations, with an overall target of $25,000.

To donate or volunteer, visit www.saintjohncathedral.org/livingnativity or call (337) 232-1322.

Email Ken Stickney at kstickney@theadvocate.com.