LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Just like many other churches this Christmas season, Lexington's Saint Paul Catholic Church displayed its nativity scene. However, its display is a little different than most.
"We have the baby Jesus behind a barrier," said Stan "JR" Zerkowski, the church's director of Interfaith Ministry. "With his mother and his father - Blessed Mother and St. Joseph - on the opposite side."
The metal cage between baby Jesus and his parents is intentional. With half of St. Paul's parishioners being Hispanic, Zerkowski believes the border wall is a real issue in this church's community. So he wants this display to provoke conversation about immigration system and the way immigrant families are treated.
This is to call our attention to the Word made flesh here in the year 2019, especially as it pertains to our children at the border," said Zerkowski. "Not only our children at the border, but anyone that's on the peripheries, anyone that's walled out, anyone that's on the other side of a barrier where there's prejudice or bias or opinion."
Zerkowski says the nativity scene is not meant to be a political message. He believes it's a "gospel stand."
"Jesus said 'what you do to others, you do to me.'" said Zerkowski. "This is the gospel. Now, the gospel applies to politics and the gospel applies to every area of life, but all we're doing is saying 'how does the gospel apply in the year 2019 and beyond? Where is Jesus born? Where has the Word become flesh today? And, how will we be responding to that?'"
However, the nativity scene is not sitting well with everyone. The church admits it has received some criticism.
"Other people say, you know, we should have our tax exempt status revoked because we're entering into politics, which is just not true," said Zerkowski.
The church believes the majority of the response has been positive however.
"People looking at this and it hits them some place down deep because it's a physical reminder of what we do to Jesus in the least of his sisters and brothers," said Zerkowski.