Sahdeo (left) and Trenius with the cylindrical manger in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
A tower-like manger with Joseph, Mary and the shepherds watching over baby Jesus will greet the faithful visiting Archbishop House — the official residence of Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo — on Purulia Road on Christmas Day.
Two brothers, both first-year students of theology at Morning Star College in Barrackpore, Bengal, have been chosen to make the new-look crib. Sahdeo Prajapati and Trenius Kerketta have already begun designing the structure.
Decorative cribs are an important part of Christmas paraphernalia and mark the birth of Christ. They are usually rectangular in shape and have thatched roofs symbolising the humble beginnings of the Son of God.
Asked why they chose to design a cylindrical crib, the two brothers said they wanted to try something different.
“We have seen some unusual cribs in Calcutta. So, we thought of giving it a new look,” Sahdeo told The Telegraph.
The brothers added that they had scourged Archbishop House for abandoned items and furniture they could use.
“The Lord made a humble beginning in a manger, which is a trough used to feed animals. So, we found discarded materials to cut down expenses in making the crib. We would use our imagination and skills to make it very comfortable,” Trenius said.
Sahdeo and Trenius added that they had found a cane centre table and a basket, an abandoned TV box, pieces of bamboo and wooden frames in the attic of Archbishop House.
“We will embellish the crib with colourful lights, balloons, multi-coloured cotton balls and wrappers. A tree, placed beside it, will be decorated with tiny lights. We will buy dolls of Jesus, Joseph, Mary and shepherds from the market as making them would take time,” Sahdeo said.
He added that they would be making two more cribs for the Archbishop House.
“While the cylindrical one will be placed at the chapel on the first floor, two rectangular cribs will be kept at the entrance and in the hall on the ground floor, respectively,” one of the brothers said.
They maintained that though they had made cribs for parishes in Kurkuria, Hulhundu, Chanho and Jonha, this was the first time they would make them at Archbishop House. “All the cribs we made earlier were rectangular,” Sahdeo said.
Theodore Toppo, personal assistant-cum-secretary to Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo, pointed out that students opting for celibacy and undergoing bachelor courses in theology and philosophy were sent to various parishes as a part of winter training programme.
“Under this programme, these two brothers have been deputed by us at Archbishop House and assigned the task of making cribs. We have given them full freedom as far as designing the cribs is concerned. Essential items like thermocol, glue, nails and coloured wrappers will be provided,” he said.