Baby Jesus returns to the manger

PHILADELPHIA - December 23, 2008 - A brand new baby Jesus was added to the nativity scene there, after the first one mysteriously disappeared last week.

"We always feel a responsibility to keep Christ in Christmas," said Norma DiCocco of DiCocco Family St. Jude Shop in Havertown.

That's what DiCocco symbollically did by replacing a statue of the baby Jesus and his cradle, which were stolen from Independence Mall.

"I just think that the entire nativity set is useless without the Christ child," DiCocco said.

It was on December 13th that the statue and crib were taken from the display. For 12 years, the nativity has been put up by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. The Knights of Columbus is also a sponsor.

When the DiCocco's learned of the theft, they ordered and donated a new statue from Italy.

It arrived Monday, just in time for Christmas.

"It's beautiful, isn't it? That they would have the passion to do this, it's a beautiful thing," said John Stanton of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

The growing number of thefts of nativity figures and menorahs has prompted some institutions to have a global positioning systems, or GPS, installed.

Though one North Jersey priest calls it a "God" Posititioning System.

"It's unfortunate that we have to come to that to protect certain things, and that people don't respect those items of other people, especially items of faith," said Louis DiCocco.

No one is saying if this baby Jesus is outfitted with a tracking device or not, but the DiCoccos hope the property will be respected and enjoyed by the public, and serve as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.

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