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Last rites for the Pope's Christmas tree

January 18, 2011
In my hometown of Deep River, Ontario, my family was usually among the last to put up the Christmas tree. Likewise, we waited weeks before pitching our dessicated fir to the curb.
It was not due to the liturgical calendar that we observed the custom later than our neighbhours. We just weren't in much of a hurry. And because I loved to light up the tree after school, I would persuade my parents to keep the now-sparsely-needled tree well past its best-before date.
So naturally, I appreciate the Vatican's tradition of displaying its majestic tree in St. Peter's Square until February 2nd, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. That was the schedule this year, until circumstances forced a change of plans. The Rome bureau of Catholic News Service provides the following report:
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