Living Nativity tells Jesus' story through Mary's eyes

By Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldDecember 23, 2012 

RICHLAND -- The annual Living Nativity production at the Cathedral of Joy in Richland will wrap up today.

Performances of the play -- depicting the life of Mary in the days leading up to the birth of her son, Jesus Christ -- will begin at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. The church is at 1153 Gage Blvd., Richland.

"This is the part of the Living Nativity which changes each year. This year our pastors looked at the life and ministry of Jesus through Mary's eyes. People have made very positive comments about this year's interpretation of the story. They've been hugging and thanking us profusely," said Ken Olsen, a longtime volunteer for the annual production.

Following the play -- which is presented onstage in the church gym -- there's a short intermission as everyone heads outdoors for the Living Nativity.

"The outdoor part includes shepherds watching over their sheep, Roman soldiers on horseback, angels and the three wise men. And there's lots of live animals -- sheep, horses, mules, donkeys, even camels," Olsen said.

There are bleachers for seating but do dress warmly for the weather, he said.

It takes more than 100 actors, plus volunteers, to stage the annual production.

Organizers said the Living Nativity production has been attended by near-sellout crowds -- capacity is 650 people per performance.

"We get busier and busier the closer we get to Christmas. Sunday's productions should be sellouts," Olsen said.

Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Kids 4 years and under are free. Tickets are sold at cojchurch.org, the Kennewick Ranch & Home on Columbia Center Boulevard and Albertsons at Gage Boulevard and Leslie Road. Online sales have been brisk and are the easiest way to buy tickets, organizers said.

The entire production is accessible to the disabled. Anyone needing additional assistance getting from the parking lot to the production just needs to tell a parking lot attendant.

"They don't need to make arrangements ahead of time, just tell us when they arrive," Olsen said.

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