Pittsburgh Créche

at 600 Grant St, Pittsburgh, 15219 United States

Pittsburgh's Créche is the world's only authorized replica of the Vatican's St. Peter's Square nativity scene. It opens on Pittsburgh's annual Light Up Night in November, and remains open through Epiphany in early January.

Pittsburgh Créche
600 Grant St
Pittsburgh , PA 15219
United States
Contact Phone
P: ---


In 1996, the Christian Leaders Fellowship displayed a nativity scene at Gateway Center. In 1998 the Fellowship was aware that the city of Pittsburgh, which owned the property in Gateway Center, was going to forbid any more public displays. Around this same time, Louis D. Astorino, a member of the Christmas Festival Committee, was re-thinking the entire idea of the nativity scene display. Mr. Astorino had visited the larger-than-life-sized créche at St. Peter's Square in Rome's Vatican City in 1993. He wanted to do something special for the Christmas Festival for the millenium, and thought one idea could be to make a bigger créche and display it in a different location away from Gateway Center where pedestrians could access and linger. His idea progressed to not just making a bigger nativity scene, but actually duplicating the wonderful créche at the Vatican. Mr. Astorino owns the architectural firm Astorino, which has designed buildings in the Vatican - the Domus Sanctae Martha and adjacent Chapel of the Holy Spirit - built for visiting clergy. Through these business ties he obtained permission from Vatican officials to duplicate the créche. Mr. Astorino contacted Massimo Stoppa, General Director of Vatican Engineering, who became his liaison with Vatican and local participants. Mr. Stoppa put Mr. Astorino in contact with the Vatican architect who designed the stable, Umberto Massana, and with the sculptor who made the figures, Pietro Simonelli. Mr. Astorino presented his idea to the Christmas Festival Committee in 1997. The Committee and Fellowship approved his proposal. Catholic Diocese Bishop Donald Wuerl contacted USX Chairman Thomas Usher, who arranged for the créche to be displayed in the plaza outside of the USX Tower. Workers at the Civic Light Opera's Construction Center built the stable and Mr. Simonelli crafted the nativity scene figures. Many local companies and union locals contributed money, services and labor to the construction and shipment of the créche components, and its assembly at USX Tower. For its first year, the créche was dedicated on December 6, 1999 and displayed through January 7, 2000.

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Jon Delano of KDKA TV will report on the Pittsburgh Crèche tonight, December 16, on the KDKA news at 6:00 pm. He will be discussing the money that is necessary to build, dismantle, store and care for the Crèche and news about a movie using the crèche for a background scene.

Published on 2014-12-16 20:48:49 GMT

Post a photo of your visit to the Pittsburgh Crèche. Fr. Ron will be mingling with the crowd at USX Plaza tonight - just look for the tall man in the blue coat- stop and say "hi!"

Published on 2014-11-21 22:31:22 GMT

The crew from All Crane Rental was on site today, lifting the 23 pieces of the walls and roof into place. The crane is able to weigh each piece as it is raised, and we were told one portion of one wall weighs 1,000 pounds. One section of the roof weighs 5,000 pounds. The total weight of the crèche is 30 tons.