For 20 years, the San Pablo Catholic Church in Marathon has been putting on a beautiful light display during the holidays. The lights were turned on Dec. 7 following the Vigil Mass of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and will be turned off on Jan. 10, 2021 (Baptism of the Lord). 

“I urge everyone to go see the lights. It’s a feel good moment,” said Larry Benvenuti.

The mastermind of the display is the church’s Paul Navara. He said the church’s Christmas decorations take up at least 30 bins, plus much more

“And we have about 30 boxes, plus things crammed in the attic and loft space,” he said, laughing. 

It’s a laborious, but doable undertaking with the help of the congregation and the community. Navara said he has help from parishioners as well as members of the community to string the lights. The uptick in the electricity bill and new displays are also supported by the church. 

“Each year the San Pablo Women’s Club donates toward the event with flowers and replacement light strings and things like that. And the congregation covers increases to the electric bill so we don’t worry about that either,” he said. 

One of the favorite parts of the lighted garden is the tunnel of blue lights that ends at the Nativity scene. Navara said he’s noticed more kids coming through this year, too. 

“We hear lots of joy,” Navara said. 

The community is invited to stroll the grounds from dusk until 10 p.m. every evening. San Pablo Catholic Church is located at 550 122nd Street, oceanside, in Marathon near Vaca Cut. 

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