Msgr. Gregory Ace has been collecting creches from around the world for more than three decades Photo by Jean Ko Din

A world of creches

By 
  • December 19, 2015

KLEINBURG, ONT. - For more than 30 years, Msgr. Gregory Ace has been fascinated by Nativity scenes from around the world. He has collected more than 1,000 Nativity sets from 126 countries worldwide and every Advent, his pieces are displayed in schools, city halls and other churches.

“I guess it goes back to my grandfather,” he said. “He had built a Nativity which I still have. He came from Malta... I had always been interested in collecting them and then, people just started giving them to me as gifts.”

Ace said most of his collection — which is on display at St. Padre Pio Church in Kleinburg until Jan. 10 — has been gifts from the travels of family, friends and parishioners. Nativity artists have also reached out to him, offering their own works for his collection. He also likes to keep an eye out for great deals online.

“I usually look for something that will reflect their culture,” said Ace. “It’s important I think for people, especially for children, to see how the birth of Jesus is reflected in all these different cultures and that Jesus is born for all of us.”

Ace said he has never seen his entire collection displayed together all at once. There are sets that he hasn’t even opened since he first received them. One day, he hopes to have a permanent home for his collection where it can be shared with everyone.

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