Church keeps tradition of selling ornaments

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 13, 2008

NATCHEZ — For the for the past 15 years, little mementos from St. Mary Basilica have been making their way through Natchez and across the country.

The church is celebrating its 16th year of selling custom-made pewter Christmas tree ornaments.

And with the help of St. Patrick, this year’s ornament will be a success.

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The ornament depicts the image of St. Patrick as its shown in the church’s stained-glass window.

St. Mary’s pastor the Rev. David O’Connor said the church doesn’t make any profit from the sale of the ornaments — they’re just glad to be able to offer them.

“They’re special to a lot of people,” O’Connor said. “They’re even becoming a tradition for some.”

The program began in the early 1990s when then-pastor the Rev. Alfred Camp came up with the idea to have the ornaments made as a means to give the community, and those visiting the church, a chance to have something that reminds them of the church.

The majority of the ornaments in the series are taken from the images of the stained-glass windows in the church.

But on occasion the ornaments have changed format to reflect historic events.

In 2005, due to Hurricane Katrina, the ornament took the image of St. Rock, the patron saint of natural disasters.

Mary Flowers, the church’s business manager, said in many families the ornaments have become treasured keepsakes.

And Flowers said it’s not uncommon for ornaments to be mailed all over the country.

“We just sent some to Maine and Hawaii,” she said. “People love them.”

The ornaments can be purchased at the church office or by calling 601-445-5616.