A few years before his death and in remembrance of his visit to the Holy Land, our Seraphic Father Francis asked his friend and companion, Giovanni Velita – the Lord of Greccio, to recreated the presepio (crèche) in the cavity of a cave. At Christmas in 1223, in the town of Greccio, Francis desired to reenact for the first time, the scene at Bethlehem. In it was placed a manger with hay and a live ox and donkey. The Cappella del Presepio or “Nativity Chapel” was built there in 1228; the year of the canonization of St. Francis of Assisi. (Read More)
We now enjoy the tradition of manger scenes in our churches and in our homes because of this event – Christ coming to live among us. Throughout the years, our friars have continued this tradition with Living Nativity celebrations we simply call “Greccio.” The pandemic of 2020 has forced these celebration to change a bit but our friars and our ministries are trying diligently to still keep the tradition alive with safe social distancing protocols in place.
Many of our province ministries have already announced their own Greccio services. Be sure to check out our “Locations” page for a ministry nearest to you to see if they are going to hold a Greccio Experience. Here are just a few examples of scheduled Greccio Services around the Province:
1) Saturday, December 11, 2021, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: The Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City, MD
Join our friars on the grounds of the Shrine for a Service of Prayers, Christmas Carols and a Living Nativity outside of the Red Barn. Refreshment will follow, free of charge. All are welcome to come and encounter the true meaning of Christmas!
2) Sunday, December 19, 2021, 5:00 p.m.
Location: Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr, Chicopee, MA
Hosted by the Basilica of St. Stanislaus and the San Damiano Youth Group. Join us for a living nativity with St. Francis and LIVE animals.
3) Sunday, December 19, 2021, 2:00 p.m.
Location: Assumption Church, Syracuse, NY
All are welcome to come experience the wonder of Christmas with a living nativity just like Saint Francis of Assisi did in 1223 when he celebrated the first Christmas crèche at Greccio, Italy.