The Nativity Trail, the traditional story of Christmas as depicted by artists over 500 years, was warmly commended during the official launch at the Birmingham Museum by the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham (30 November).
Speaking just a few months after the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Birmingham, Archbishop Bernard Longley said: "As my second Christmas in Birmingham approaches I am delighted that the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery have once again devised a Nativity Trail. This year it includes the beautiful mosaic image of the Madonna and Child which was Pope Benedict's gift to St Mary's College at Oscott."
Archbishop Longley added: "The Nativity Trail helps people to follow the story of Christ's birth and also unfolds its deeper meaning in our own lives. The mosaic reminds us of the contribution that people of all faiths are making to the well-being of the City of Birmingham."
The Nativity Trail includes the following masterpieces depicting the Christmas story: The Star of Bethlehem (1887-1891), by Edward Burne-Jones (Gallery 14); The Annunciation (1858), by Arthur Hughes (Gallery 18); The Adoration of the Shepherds (c1520-40), by Bonifazio de’Pitati, called Veronese (Gallery 26); The Rest on the Flight into Egypt, (1615-20), by Orazio Gentileschi. (Gallery 25).
Visitors to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery will also have the opportunity to see a superb display of photographs documenting the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Birmingham on Sunday 19 September 2010 for the beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman at Cofton Park. Also on show (Gallery 28) is the specially reupholstered chair used by Pope Benedict during his visit to St Mary's College Oscott, the diocesan seminary.
Following his recent appointment as Dean of the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, Father Gerry Breen, said: "How encouraging that so many religious and civic leaders gathered together for this initiative focusing on the true meaning of the Season, the Birth of Christ. In keeping with the City of Birmingham motto, I look 'Forward', to working with both the Civic and Religious Leaders for the benefit of all the people of our proud City."
Father Breen added: "The launch of the Nativity Trail at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery provided a good opportunity to meet with Catherine Ogle, newly appointed as Dean to Saint Philip's Anglican Cathedral."
The Nativity Trail is open to the public at Birmingham Museum & Art Galley from 1 December 2010 until 6 January 2011. Admission is free.
Archbishop Bernard Longley pictured at the official launch of the Nativity Trail at Birmingham Museum & Art Galley on 30 November with Father Gerry Breen, Dean of St Chad's Cathedral, and the Revd Canon Catherine Ogle, Dean of St Philip's Anglican Cathedral.
© Peter Jennings