Escola Madalena de Canossa wins inaugural edition of Admirabile Signum Nativity Scene Contest

Marco Carvalho

The manger assembled by the Magdalene of Canossa School was the big winner of the inaugural edition of the Admirabile Signum Nativity Scene Competition, a Christmas contest organized by the Macau Catholic Culture Association. The Canossian institution won the Jury Award and was crowned the winner amongst more than one dozen participating schools.

The competition attracted participation from 16 Catholic-oriented schools and the manger that Escola Madalena de Canossa set up, led the jury’s preferences. The proposal of Santa Maria Mazzarello School was distinguished with the second place and Holy Family School came third. Headed by businessman Tomaz Mok and environmental activist Benvinda dos Santos, the jury also awarded honourable mentions to Saint Joseph Diocesan College, Escola São Paulo and Our Lady of Fatima Girl’s School that was also granted the award for the most sustainable, environment-friendly manger.

The trophy for the best collaborative effort was bestowed upon Escola de Santa Teresa. Among the winners of the inaugural edition of the Admirabile Signum Nativity Scene Contest was also the Salesian Institute which won the ‘Internet Popularity Award’, having been the most voted manger on social media in a poll that took place from December 21 to December 30.  Of the 3,174 votes collected by the Macau Catholic Culture Association on its Facebook page, almost one third – 1,041 – of the respondents voted for the Salesian Institute’s nativity scene.

The award ceremony took place on January 7 at the Macau Catholic Culture Association’s premises at Rua Formosa. Distinguished guests present at the award ceremony included the Bishop of Macau and Chairman of the Association, Stephen Lee Bun-sang. In his speech at the award ceremony, Bishop Lee recalled that the nativity scene is one of the greatest symbols of the Christmas season and congratulated the Catholic Culture Association for helping to spread the message of unity, love and peace often associated with the Holy Family.

“Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year, which guides Catholics to live their ordinary life faithfully throughout the year. Advent is the preparation for the Christmas season, and the nativity scene is the greatest symbol of Advent and Christmas,  portraying the birth of Jesus Christ and God’s love for the people. The Holy Family is the most magnificent sight in the Nativity scene, bringing out a message of love and peace,” Bishop Lee Bun-sang said.

“During the 2022 Admirabile Signum Nativity Scene Competition, teachers, students and parents worked together to create a Christmas manger that brings out the message and meaning of love, sharing and unity during the Advent and Christmas period,” he added.

Unanimously considered to be a success, the Admirabile Signum Nativity Scene Competition will likely become a ‘Christmas staple’, Macau Catholic Culture Association executive director Joni Cheng told O Clarim.

“The Admirabile Signum Nativity Competition has seen high participation by the local Catholic schools with an overwhelming response from a total of 16 Catholic schools. The Macau Catholic Culture Association wishes to continue organising this annual event and hopes to further elevate it into an inter-schools competition, a city-wide event for all local schools, whether they are Catholic or not,” she said.

(Photo courtesy: Macau Catholic Culture Association)