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Boston-Area Church Lists Mass Shootings Behind Its Nativity Scene

At the top are the words, "If only you knew the things that make for peace."

12/05/2017 16:32 EST | Updated 12/05/2017 16:44 EST

A Massachusetts church is praying its Nativity scene will encourage a discussion about gun violence in America.

The display at St. Susanna's Parish in Dedham has the traditional elements: angels, the three kings, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. But behind them is a sadly modern touch: a list of some of the deadliest mass shootings in the country's history.

At the top are the words, "If only you knew the things that make for peace."

Father Stephen Josoma told Boston station WFXT that the goal is to motivate people to do whatever it takes to stop future shootings.

"This is not the picture of Christmas peace we want to have in people's minds for years to come. It can't be this forever. It just has to change," Josoma said.

"If only you knew the things that make for peace"

Posted by Jim Mac on Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Nativity scene has been up for just a few days, but parishioners are happy with the effect it's having.

"You can interpret it in different ways," said parishioner Pat Ferrone, according to WTOL TV. "It's just to draw people in. It really makes people think."

Josoma told WFXT that he realizes not everyone will like the message, but he hopes people keep an open mind.

HuffPost reached out to Josoma, who did not immediately respond.