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Priest's blessing opens Aurora 70th annual drive-thru Christmas display

Lehnertz Avenue drive-thru Christmas display… now until Jan. 7

AURORA, Ill., Dec. 12, 2021 — With a priest’s blessing and thanks to volunteers, Aurora’s 70th annual Lehnertz Avenue drive-thru Christmas display opened Sunday, Dec. 12, on the city’s East side. 

The free display runs to Jan. 7. The public is invited to drive through nightly from 5 to 10:30 p.m. and all night on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. 

Lisa Hardekopf, Lehnertz Avenue display committee president, opened the blessing program with a welcome to attendees and thanks to donors and volunteers.

Manger blessed

Fr. Matthew J. McMorrow, pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Aurora, blesses the manger Sunday, Dec. 12, to open the 70th annual Lehnertz Avenue drive-thru Christmas display in Aurora. (Al Benson photo)

Fr. Matthew J. McMorrow, pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Aurora, began the blessing ceremony by inviting attendees to join him in a litany. After leading the crowd in “Away in a Manger,” he read a gospel passage and performed the blessing ritual. The pastor closed the program by inviting the crowd to sing “Silent Night” before offering a benediction.

The display on Lehnertz Avenue and Lehnertz Circle is sponsored by a nonprofit association of neighborhood residents on Aurora’s far east side. 

Lehnertz is recognized as the oldest, totally free traditional Christmas display in Illinois. Enter Lehnertz Avenue via Sheridan Street, follow through Lehnertz Circle and exit via Ohio Street.

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Al Benson
Freelance Photo-Journalist

Al Benson is an Aurora-based freelance photo-journalist. He is currently an archives research specialist at Aurora University. His work has appeared in The Voice, The Daily Herald, The Beacon-News, and the Chicago Tribune.

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