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It will be taken to Bethlehem on Saturday, in time for the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree in Manger Square.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for The city, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, is believed to have been the birthplace of Jesus.
The wooden fragment said to be from the crib of the Infant Jesus is returning to Bethlehem more than a thousand years after it was sent to Rome
The chief custodian for the Holy Land, Francesco Patton, said that the relic was sent from Bethlehem to Rome around the year 640AD as gift to Pope Theodore I from Sophronius, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.
'' Patton told AFP after the Friday morning mass.
Now, over a thousand years later it is returning to the city where it will be installed '' in Saint Catherine''forever''s church in Bethlehem
The relic, housed in Rome since the seventh century, was presented to the Franciscan custodians of the Holy Land at a mass in the Notre Dame Catholic centre. Pictured are worshippers praying to the relic
'' Patton added.
The Catholic church does not speak of worshipping relics, which would be a form of idolatry, but rather of venerating them.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for ''t venerate the relic because it is a piece of wood. We venerate the relic because the relic reminds us of the mystery of incarnation, to the fact that the son of God was born of Mary in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago,''We are thankful and President Abbas is thankful to his Holiness for giving us this precious gift as a sign of peace and hope,'' website says that during its time in Rome the relic was visited by '' and is expected to attract many more to its home in Bethlehem.
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