YESTERDAY, I was privileged to attend the crowning of the Infant Jesus of Prague, at Saint John Nepomuk Church, in Saint Louis. Like the shepherds on the first Christmas morning in Bethlehem, we too venerate the newborn King, laying in the manger. Although devotion to the Child Jesus was popular during the Middle Ages, this specific devotion dates from the 1600s, when a Spanish princess brought the statue to a Carmelite monastery in Prague, Bohemia. The great scandal of Christianity is that God became flesh, as an infant in swaddling clothes. But as the prophet Isaiah tells us, “a little child shall lead them.”
I did not know that I was going to take photos here; I was unprepared, so please forgive the poor quality of the following photos:
Fourth-degree Knights of Columbus, who act as an honor guard, wait at the door to the narthex.
The statue is carried during a procession, while the choir sang hymns in the Czech language.
Copies of this statue are found in Catholic churches around the world; but this particular church was founded by the faithful from Bohemia, and to this day, their ancestors keep this devotion alive.
Crowning of the Infant Jesus.
A view of the nave after devotions. My photos of this church are featured in the book, Catholic St. Louis: A Pictorial History.
Detail of the church's stained glass window of the Infant Jesus, who is venerated both by shepherds and by kings.
Outside of the church are a series of plaques of the church's pastors. Here is Fr. Wenceslaus Linek, whose translation of the Infant Jesus of Prague devotion into English is used today.
A more detailed description of the Crowning is presented by Tina, who was also present: click here to read.
Here is the website of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague: http://www.pragjesu.info