Greccio [Living Nativity] is a favorite tradition in our Franciscan Community.
Several opportunities are available
to join our province ministries
to experience this event,
much like St. Francis of Assisi did in 1223, in Greccio, Italy.
Check back for more photos from other ministry locations.
Excerpt from the Santuario Greccio page of the Santuari della Valle Santa website:
The last years of Francis’ life are painful; illness and the situation of his Order forge him. These are also the years in which an intimate joy, a sense of fullness that pervades everything, seems to take hold of him. Witness to these sentiments is the singular Christmas in the mountains, which Francis wants to celebrate in Greccio – a place so dear to him – on December 25, 1223. To Giovanni Velita, lord of Greccio, Francis said: “Behold, I would like you to place a manger with hay in some cave on the mountain that you own and lead an ox and a donkey there as they were in Bethlehem. On Christmas Eve I will come up there and, all together, we will pray in the grotto.” Christmas Eve arrives: everything is ready in the cave. The crib and a small altar. It was as if Bethlehem, that year, had gone to the top of the mountain of Greccio. The priest begins the Christmas Mass. Francis sings the Gospel.
Excerpt from St Bonaventure’s “The Life of St. Francis of Assisi:”
Chapter X – OF HIS ZEAL AND EFFICACY IN PRAYER, #7
Now three years before his death it befell that he was minded, at the town of Greccio, to celebrate the memory of the Birth of the Child Jesus, with all the added solemnity that he might, for the kindling of devotion. That this might not seem an innovation, he sought and obtained license from the Supreme Pontiff, and then made ready a manger, and bade hay, together with an ox and an ass, be brought unto the spot. The Brethren were called together, the folk assembled, the wood echoed with their voices, and that august night was made radiant and solemn with many bright lights, and with tuneful and sonorous praises...