Cardinal Dolan Blesses the Animals Of Our ‘Living Nativity’ Scene

November 5, 2015 The annual animal load in for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular takes place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The animals are blessed by Cardinal Dolan before being brought in for first rehearsal for Christmas Spectacular.

The animals are blessed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan before preparing for their first Radio City Christmas Spectacular rehearsals 

It’s official: the holiday season is finally upon us … and what better way to kick off the spectacular season than by having His Eminence bless our animals featured in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

This past Thursday outside Radio City Music Hall, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, gave his blessing to our four-legged friends who star alongside us in the “Living Nativity” number.

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Cardinal Dolan poses with Rockettes Tori, Karen, Danelle and Corey (left to right)

Ted the camel, who has been in the show for more than 20 years, stood quietly alongside his fellow animal friends—two other camels, two sheep and a donkey (also named Ted!)—and a few of us Rockettes as the Cardinal gave his blessing.

“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Sprit. May the grace and peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who was born of the blessed Virgin Mary, watched over tenderly by Saint Joseph, and protected by the animals that first Christmas, be with you all. As we celebrate to prepare for the birthday of Jesus Christ at Christmas, we pause to bless these animals, who will be part of the ‘living manger’ scene, as part of the splendid tradition at Radio City Music Hall…Lord, bless all who participate in this ‘living manger’ scene.”

While the animals have been performing in the show since 1933, this is the first time they have been blessed. Cardinal Dolan felt moved by the show’s final number, saying it’s a scene that truly reminds us the message of Christmas is living and that it still goes on.

“When you hear people leave the show, they talk about joy, they have smiles, they feel close to everybody. It’s the spirit of community and family.”

Inviting the press to meet the animals outside Radio City is an annual tradition, but getting to witness it was a first for Rockette Karen.

“The ‘Living Nativity’ scene is such a beautiful number that ends the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and it really brings the joy and the warm feeling you get around the holidays to life.”