This Christmas Eve, 800 years ago, Saint Francis of Assisi decided to celebrate the memory of the birth of Jesus with the greatest possible solemnity. He asked and obtained the permission of the Pope for the ceremony, so that he could not be accused of being an innovator. He had a crib prepared with hay and an ox and an ass — the first manger scene in the history of the church! The friars were all invited and the people came in crowds.
Francis stood before the crib and his heart overflowed with tender compassion; he was bathed in tears but overcome with joy. The Christmas Eve Mass was offered, and Francis, who was a Deacon, proclaimed the Gospel. Then he preached to the people about the birth of the poor King, whom he called in his tender love “the Babe of Bethlehem.”
Join us on this 800th Anniversary of the first Christmas manger! Come and receive with tender love the Babe of Bethlehem!
Fr. Mark Zacker, Pastor