Landscaping and Outdoor Statuary

by Karen Even

At one time, before the 1960s, the land on which Nativity was built was devoted to working farms. By the 1960s, however, as these aerial photographs show, the land had been left undeveloped. Thus, Nativity was built on a previously undeveloped piece of land. Anything changed on it, including the building, was progress. But it was not landscaping.

1949: a working farm

1949: a working farm

1964: undeveloped land

1964: undeveloped land

1979: the original church building

1979: the original church building

2002: the church and school buildings

2002: the church and school buildings

Fr. Ready, Nativity’s first pastor, readily admitted to not having much to do with landscaping. The main issues of his tenure were parking spaces, saving money, and paying off the debt. Since Fr. Ready left Nativity with the debt paid off, $100,000 in the bank, and a paved parking lot, we were on the road to success.

Entrance to the church as it appeared in 1992.

Entrance to the church as it appeared in 1992.

Entrance to the church as it appeared in 2013.

Entrance to the church as it appeared in 2013.

Father Sal’s interests focused mostly on the church interior and the addition of the school building but he was fond of statues, which were his main contribution to the landscape. Here are some of the better known examples.

The Nativity

The Nativity

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Joseph

St. Joseph

Blessed John Paul II

Blessed John Paul II

The bust of Pope John Paul II is one of a small number of limited-edition duplicate copies of the original, which was donated to the Vatican art collection in 1996. The sculptor, Gerhard Baut, is the fourth generation of family artists who have concentrated on stained glass windows, statues, and other religious artwork. The sculptor works at his family studio, located in Swoyersville, Pennsylvania. In addition to the copy at Nativity, the other duplicates are at the Polish Cultural Museum in Philadelphia, the Chancellery of the Pittsburgh Archbishop, the Vatican Embassy in Morocco, and St. Joseph’s Church in Everson, Pennsylvania.


A Prolife Statue was installed by the Knights of Columbus in 1994-1995

A Prolife Statue was installed by the Knights of Columbus in 1994-1995

A very simple grotto to Our Lady of Fatima was added to the church grounds as a monument to born and unborn children.

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Father Martin has always loved landscaping. In fact, he was considering enrolling in the University of Rhode Island to major in horticulture before the call to the priesthood won out. So when he arrived at Nativity, so did flowers, trees and shrubs. The grotto to our Lady of Fatima was enlarged to include benches for a quiet place to pray and beautiful roses bloom throughout the summer.

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Lilies, hydrangeas, hostas, marigolds, and zinnias greet visitors at each entry way and flowering trees line the sidewalks.

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By the front entrance, dogwood trees have been planted in honor of two Army Captains, James Adamouski and Mark Stubenhofer, parishioners who lost their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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history139Several benches are on the church grounds for contemplation, visiting, resting, and so forth. At Christmas time, lights brighten angels, trees, and the star shines on the permanent Nativity at the front entrance. Truly, we now have grounds for all seasons. But spring, when the trees and flowers are in bloom, is when the grounds of Nativity really come alive and shine.

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