The Power of Being Called 

– Br. Michael, ofm

                                               The gospels for the Second and Third Sunday of Ordinary Time are about call. The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time gospel is from John 1 and the Third Sunday is drawn from Mark 1, both speak of the first disciples called to follow Jesus. This sense of call is woven into us. We call and have been called. The invitation of Jesus must have come with a power in his tone or depth in his inflection for the first four to follow immediately. No questions, no guarantees, no policies to be explained and no forms to sign – immediate response on their part. This speaks to a deep trust, a willingness, an openness and a sense of awe.

The poet Mary Oliver is quoted as saying in life she learned three things.

  • Pay attention.
  • Be astonished.
  • Share your astonishment.

 

Is this not what the first disciples did?

They paid attention to Christ.

They were astonished in being called.

In their astonishment they trusted and learned and shared the good news. Which in turn

caused others to pay attention, were astonished and the message of Jesus touched lives and continues to do so. I believe we are astonished because love is powerful. To be called in love calls us to pay attention.

 

How are you being called?

Who are you paying attention to?

What astonishes you?

Blessings on your week.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Annie Spratt

Where Are You Staying? 

– Br. Michael, ofm

Based on the Gospel of John 1.35-42

 

Where are you staying?

I have always found this an interesting question poised to Jesus. I find it interesting as well when it is poised to us over the course of our travels and journeys. It invites a conversation about place and being. It invites us to pay attention and maybe even to see again or see with new eyes. As I pondered this question and the simple response of Jesus, to “come and see” I had a sense of closeness.

 

I ask:

Where are you staying?

Jesus responds:

It is closer than you think,

sometimes it feels too familiar to you

and yet there are so many rooms.

I ask again: Where are you staying?

Jesus responds:

This place I am staying

is transformed again and again

with clarity and tenderness.

 

Come and See.

I respond by doing so.

It is a familiar and yet mysterious place,

there is warmth and depth to it.

I say:

I will remain here Jesus,

there is much here

and this familiar place feels new.

Jesus says:

Come and See

I respond:

Here, I find you, my Messiah,

I know I am taught here,

taught to see, speak, be and do things anew.

Here, you see me for who I am.

You call me to truth and to life.

You ask me to trust what you see.

Jesus responds:

I am staying here in your heart.

Photo Credit: Nsey Benajah

Epiphany 2024: Light Revealed in the Journey

– Br. Michael, ofm

Epiphany 2024: Light Revealed in the Journey

– Isaiah 60.1-6; Psalm 72; Ephesians 3.2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2.1-12

January 7, 2024

Glenavon, SK

 

2024 Moveable Feast Days

Introduction

In keeping with an ancient church ritual from a time when calendars were not readily available, at this point in the Liturgy for Epiphany one of the rituals was to announce the dates for the upcoming Liturgical Year. In times past it was necessary to make known the date of Easter in advance, since many celebrations of the liturgical year depend on its date.

Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts in the liturgical year for many years in advance, the Epiphany proclamation still has value. It is a reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of the Lord in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year (USCCB) and like we are reminder into today’s feast of Epiphany how Christ is reveal to us in all the seasons of the year.

 

Announcement of Easter and the Moveable Feasts:

Know, dear brothers and sisters,

as we have rejoiced at the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ,

so by leave of God’s mercy

we announce to you also the joy of his Resurrection,

who is our Savior.

 

 

On the fourteenth day of February will fall Ash Wednesday,

and the beginning of the fast of the most sacred Lenten season.

 

On the thirty-first day of March we will celebrate with joy Easter Day,

the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

On the twelfth day of May will be the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On the nineteenth day of May, the feast of Pentecost.

On the second day of June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

 

And on the first day of December, the First Sunday of the Advent

of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honor and glory for ever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

It is good to be reminded our story is part of a bigger story. Our living through the days of this liturgical and calendar year are woven into the Christ story and we are called to take note of where he is manifested in our lives along the journey.

The Feast of Epiphany is one of the most ancient feasts of the church year, it has long been celebrated to remember Christ being revealed to people from all walks of life. It also serves as a reminder of how our lives are changed or transformed because of an encounter with him. We hear in today’s gospel, how the magi after meeting the Christ Child, “left for their own country by another road.”

Epiphany is a not just a bleep on the church year calendar, it’s not just a nice way to wrap up the Christmas Season, it is an opportunity for us to look at how the Light of Christ is woven into our story as we look back on the first six weeks of this new church year and this Christmas Season and to ask ourselves some important questions as we consider the other roads we are called to travel. Where have I encountered Christ? How has wonder and awe filled moments of my living? Am I allowing the true Light to be my guiding way or am I being caught up in the same fears as Herod? Where and how do I readily share my gifts?

Epiphany has long captured my imagination and my thoughts. Maybe because the questions I have just poised have filtered through my living. Or maybe because of the mysteriousness of the magi trusting a star – a star – to guide them to the “shepherd of Israel.” Or maybe because it is a moment to see Jesus – our Emmanuel – God with us – born for us – all of us; people from all walks of life, with our own interesting stories, moments marked throughout a year, with our baggage, our hopes, and our dreams.

The prophet Isaiah (60.1-6) reminds us, “arise, shine, your light has come, the glory of the Lord has risen upon you, lift up your eyes and look around you.”

As we journey into the days and months of this year; we too are the magi. It’s not simply about getting on our “camels” and reaching the next destination or the next feast or the next moment to numb ourselves. It is about being attentive to wonder and awe. I was reminded of this gift just the other day as I spent a day building Lego and going for a walk with my two youngest nephews. Wonder and awe, delight, and light… called to look up seeing light filtering in. The glory of the Lord has risen upon us, but if we keep drudging along with our eyes downcast and mumbling about the long journey, we will never see the stars, we will never be caught off guard by how close the Child born for us truly is in our lives. Let us consider: How has wonder and awe filled moments of my living? Am I open to wonder and awe being a guiding star for the months ahead?

Pope Benedict called the magi “men with a restless heart… filled with expectation… seekers of God.”

All journeys come with restlessness. Like many of us, St. Francis of Assisi was a restless person. He was always seeking the Christ, and in this seeking his restless heart was met with deep encounters and realities. When he went to the caves to pray – it was with expectant hope of meeting Christ. When he went out about creation preaching to birds, or picking the earthworms from the roadways it was his restless heart seeking God. When he was unpredictable in his actions it was because he was trying to pay attention to his heart and how it was creating a space for Christ. Each of us have these moments in our unfolding stories. We must ask ourselves: Where have I encountered Christ?

Pope Francis notes the “Magi personify all those who believe, those who long for God, who yearn for their home… they reflect the image of all those who in their lives have not let their hearts be anesthetized (numbed).” St. Paul in his letter to Ephesians (3.2-6) reminds us we are all “members of the same body and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” This hope-filled declaration speaks to us: a community of believers. As we long to know and see God, we each must continually invite our hearts to the truth and depth of the gospel for this is a beautiful, personal encounter and relationship with Christ. Unlike the magi who only had a brief encounter with him and then had to carry this as a guiding light for them on the rest of their life journey, we encounter Christ again and again: in each other, in serving others, in sharing our gifts, in praying together and in each Eucharist. In pondering this we ask ourselves: Am I allowing the true Light to be my guiding way or am I being caught up in the same fears as Herod? When do I readily share my gifts?

As much as we would like it to be Christmas every day of the year, we like the magi must set out on our journey. This journey filled with uncertain roads and mystery where Christ will meet us in the Ash Wednesday moments, the Triduum pathways, the joy of Easter, the refreshment of Pentecost, the time spent in ordinary living and then again in the reminder of how God chose to become one of us, when we will again remind ourselves as we cry out next Advent: “Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Our lives will look different 365 days from now, what will matter is how we journeyed from the crib of Christ by another road because of how we let the wonder and awe of Christ revealing himself to us impact us and in turn how we shared our gifts.

I would love nothing more than to stay here by the stable for next few months, but the time has come, for me, for you, for all of us, like the magi, like Joseph and Mary to now carry forth the promise of Christmas – Christ born – Christ our center. We are bearers of his light and hope for we are nourished with this Eucharist. In being nourished by Christ who is our light and center we serve as heralds for the world to look up for our light has come.

Creator of the heavens,

who led the Magi by a star

to worship the Christ Child:

guide and sustain us,

that we may find our journey’s end in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(The Daily Office SSF)

 

Three Gifts for the New Year 2024

– Br. Michael, ofm

 

Based on the scripture: Numbers 6.22-27; Psalm 67; Galatians 4.4-7; Luke 2.16-21

 

Today, January 1, as we mark the start of the new calendar year, as we pray for peace in our world and as we mark this Christmas Octave Feast of Mary Mother of God, the scriptures offer us three gifts. In this season of gift giving, today the scriptures speak of the gift of blessing, the gift of relationship, and then a triple gift of sharing-glorifying and pondering. I invite us to consider each.

The gift of blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you.” This blessing God spoke to Moses to share with Aaron centuries later became a favorite for St. Francis of Assisi and is a favorite for many Christians. St. Francis wove these words of blessing into his own blessings and into the life of the Friars because he wanted all to know the gift of God’s face shining on them. The gift of blessing is a reminder of God at work in our life. To know the gift of blessing is a reminder each day of encountering the gracious mercy and love of God and knowing God looks upon us with tenderness and goodness. This gift of blessing is the promise of the Christmas Season – God with us – in the celebrations and in new beginnings, also in heartaches and trails, and in pondering, prayer and even in our seeking. Pope Francis reminds us, “what are we to do with this grace? Only one thing: accept the gift. Before we go out to seek God, let us allow ourselves to be sought by God. God always seeks us first” (Homily, Dec. 24, 2019). This is the gift of blessing today, this season and always.

The second gift is the gift of relationship. The letter to the Galatians expresses the depth of relationship and how each of us are brought into the miracle of Christmas. A pastor whom I have the great joy of journeying with, reminded me this excerpt from Galatians is the “stunning vision of how much we really are of God as we are now viewed as God’s own child.” The very Spirit of Jesus lives in us and allows each of us in our situations to call out to God – Abba – the intimacy of being in relationship with God – it is personal, it is holy, it is life for each of us. “All which is true of Jesus is then true of us through the Spirit, we are the son, the daughter, the child of God” because God desires nothing more than to be in relationship with us. This is a powerful reminder as we begin a new calendar year journeying into the unknown. It speaks of hope, of our value in being made of God and of the work of Christmas which is ours to do in building relationships, repairing relationships, and being a church which values the gift of relationship.

The third gift is the triple gift of sharing-glorifying and pondering. The gospel today picks up from where we left off on Christmas Eve. The poorest of the poor have received the good news; the outcasts have been reminded of their dignity and have been given the great message of telling others about the gift of God with us – here and now, in our life and reality. If we think of the lowly shepherds first gifted with sharing and glorifying at the beginning of the life of Jesus and also consider at the resurrection it was Mary Magdalene and the other women gifted with sharing the good news of his resurrection – we see God relies on those who society has not always valued, to be the first messengers of the depth of the love of God. This is important to take note of for it is an invitation for each of us during this Christmas time and as a new year begins. How do we share good news, support, presence and hope with others?

The mystic Maggie Ross reminds us: “Behold, Behold the God who is infinitely more humble than those who pray to him, more stripped, more emptied, more self-outpouring… the scandal of the Incarnation is not that we are naked before Emmanuel, God with us, but that God is named before us and, in utter silence, given over into our hands and hearts.” This is not a nostalgic moment of long ago for the shepherds hearing the name of Jesus and knowing they needed to tell others. It is not the moment for Mary and Joseph when they brought Jesus to the temple and officially named and circumcised him. It is not only even the moment of Mary pondering the miracle of which she has said yes. It is the miracle of Christmas each year; the beauty of God with us. It is the triple gift we each have the ability to share – we like Mary and Joseph, we like St. Francis 800 years ago this Christmas, have the Christ Child placed into our hands and hearts today. Each time we come to the banquet of the Eucharist and then carry forth the Eucharist in our daily living we live from and share this gift. Even in the chaos of the world there is still much goodness to share, to glorify God for and with Mary to ponder and treasure. As we look back on what was and as we look ahead to what may be, let us do so with deep trust – knowing there are treasures in the journey and let us make time to ponder with Mary how Christ is made known to us in the ordinary, the simple and in the Child we behold.

As we receive Christ in the Eucharist we will respond Amen, affirming our belief in the gift of blessing, the gift of relationship – God with us. In this Amen we affirm we carry Christ with us into 2024, we affirm God with us – will meet us in all the seasons of this year and we affirm we are a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. This is how peace in our world begins with each of us and our sharing of this blessing, this gift with others.

May each of us know much peace, much goodness and much joy in 2024.

 

 

 

Christmas Blessings

– Br. Michael, ofm

This year we commemorate the 800th anniversary of Christmas at Greccio where the tradition of the Christmas Crèche (Nativity Scene) finds its history. St. Francis of Assisi had a vision to gather the people to remind them of the Bambino of Bethlehem. One of the biographies of the life of St. Francis says he desired “to enact the memory of that babe who was born in Bethlehem.” Each year as we set up our crèche (nativity scene) in our homes and churches it is a reminder for us to not just look at pretty statues or a family heirloom rather it is an opportunity to pray for our hurting world and to be reminded we are gathered in community with fellow believers trusting our God is here with us in the hurting and the harshness of life.

As we face uncertainties in the year ahead, as we listen with broken hearts about wars in our world, as we know the hurts and pains of our communities and families – we trust our God is with us equipping us with hope. This is the very message St. Francis desired to awaken in the people of Greccio 800 years ago. Their world and ours are not very different – let us be attentive to the Bambino of Bethlehem and how he is stirring us to be people of the gospel. We encourage you to pause and pray before a crèche this Christmas Season. Let us be brave enough to pray for the courage to follow Christ wherever he shall lead us in 2024.

 

Blessings of peace and all good to you this Christmas and all through 2024

from the Friars and Staff at Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre.

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Advent 2023 – Week 3 – Celebrating 800 Years of the Nativity Scene

– Br. Michael, ofm

 

Eight hundred years ago St. Francis was worried the people of Greccio were forgetting the Bambino of Bethlehem and how present Christ was to them in their every day. He desired the simplicity, poverty, and humility of the Christ Child to be made known and remembered. The beautiful vision St. Francis had to enact the birth of Christ was part of the Midnight Mass. This is important to note, it wasn’t just a show it was wrapped up in the paschal mystery; it was an invitation to know the intimacy of God with us. To see the poverty of the crib leads one to see the emptying of Christ on the cross and the new life in the Resurrection.

 

One of the earliest photos of me is taken at Midnight Mass with my parents at the crèche. In this photo Mom and Dad are holding me to show me the Bambino of Bethlehem and the scene. They brought me into the story and mystery, from then on, I have been captivated by the scene each year. I have been drawn in and called to see myself there.  One Franciscan scholar says: “Francis’ representation did not include images, but only living beings. He wanted real protagonists.” The animals yes, but most especially the people who gathered, the brothers from various places, women and men of the area, rich and poor alike, stood side by side together. This echoes and is reflected into us and our living, by how we enter the celebration of Christ’s birth, how we gather as a community of believers. This season, a long time ago in Greccio, is not a time stamped moment rather it is a launching point for us and for our story now. It calls us to the manger to pause and calls us to the Eucharist to be nourished and share the good news as we go forth from each Eucharist.

 

St. Francis wrote in his Admonitions (1,16-18): “Behold, each day He humbles himself as when he came from the royal throne into the Virgin’s womb; each day He himself comes to us, appearing humbly, from the bosom of the Father upon the altar.”  As we draw near to Christmas maybe we are coming tired and hurting. Maybe we are coming holding on to a faint hope and deeper desires. Maybe we are seeking shelter from the storms. Maybe everything just feels so out of control or out of sync. Maybe all is content and coming together. Maybe we are filled with wonder and awe. No matter how we are coming to Christmas, the poor Bambino of Bethlehem meets us. As we gaze upon him, he gazes into our heart, he knows our story and loves us deeply, he meets us in each Eucharist. As we look upon our Nativity Scene, as we gather for Christmas Mass, as we connect with family and friends the longing of our heart is stirred up. “Christmas fascinates us because all of us know deep down, in some way or another, the birth of this Child has something to do with the deepest longings and hopes which even today we still have not managed to shake off” (Dominican Cardinal Christoph Schönborn).  What is burning-yearning-longing in your heart?

 

Friar Thomas of Celano in his biography of St. Francis says of Greccio Christmas 1223: “Here simplicity is given a place of honour, poverty is exalted, humility is commended, and out of Greccio is made a new Bethlehem.” This is what was burning in the heart of St. Francis. It wasn’t just a one-time moment for him, rather it is an invitation for him and still one for us and our community. Our hearts becoming a new Bethlehem because we have opened our lives allowing in the Spirit with our hearts caught up in the mystery of the incarnation which is life for all. This season as we open our hearts and homes, let us do so with same eagerness of St. Francis in 1223. For when we do we are sure to encounter and welcome the Bambino of Bethlehem and be filled with joy.

 

As you pray before your Nativity Scene consider:

How does my Nativity Scene remind me of simplicity?

Where am I invited to share joy this season?

What areas in my life do I need to work on humility?

How and where is my life being made into a new Bethlehem?

Who and what intentions do I need to carry with me to Christmas Mass to present to the Bambino of Bethlehem and put upon the altar?

 

 

Simplicity. Poverty. Humility. New.

All wrapped up in a child.

St. Francis knew these gifts and the Bambino intimately.

He reminds us we do as well when make space

in our heart for the Bambino of Bethlehem.

As Christmas draws near let us do so with hope and joy.

 

Christmas at Greccio Christmas at The Mount


Advent 2023 – Week 2- Celebrating 800 Years of the Nativity Scene

 

Br. Michael, ofm

In the Christmas at Greccio 1223 text from the life of St. Francis by Friar Thomas Celano, the account includes the following tidbits of information. “Blessed Francis had John summoned to him some fifteen days prior to the birthday of the Lord. Francis said to him, “hurry before me and carefully make ready the things I tell you. For I wish to enact the memory of that babe who was born in Bethlehem, to see as much as possible how he lay in a manger, and how, with an ox and donkey standing by, he rested on the hay.” So begins the tradition of creating a place to honour the birth of Jesus known as Nativity Scenes.

Do you know where your Nativity Scene (crèche) comes from? Not so much where it was made rather was it gifted to you? Did you purchase it? Is it part of an ongoing collection? Is it a family heirloom? Are their odd pieces or unique characters?

Before I joined the Franciscans, I had collected Nativity Scenes. Some from local artists, others from around the world, others from craft sales and others from department stores. My collection began when my parents gifted me a Nativity Set the Christmas of my Grade 12 year. The collection continued to grow as friends and colleagues gifted Nativity Scenes to me. They would bring them back trips or from unique stops in their shopping. I was always amazed by these beautiful treasures and enjoyed setting them up each year. Each one unique, but like St. Francis and his friend John, each took time to set up.

When I joined the Franciscans, I needed to decide what to do with this large collection. After some pondering, I decided to gift them to a variety of people who had journeyed and accompanied me over the years. I also made sure my nephews and nieces and Godchildren would have a set to begin their Christmas traditions. It was a great joy to be able to share this tradition with others, and to honor the creativity spirit of St. Francis of Assisi and see how others set up the scene.

My now much smaller collection has had two special additions over the past couple of years. After the death of both of my Grandmothers I was gifted their nativity sets. I recall how each of my Grandmothers set up their nativity scenes in a certain way and each in a particular place. I remember as a child standing before them captivated by how they were arranged and how they looked different from the one we had at home. As an adult I stood before them grateful for the gift of Christmas and the foundation of faith my Grandparents had built.

These treasured Nativities which have been a part of my life since my childhood now find a special place in my room for me to ponder with St. Francis “the memory of the babe who was born in Bethlehem.” The simple figures remind me of the connection to my family, my faith, to the Saint of Assisi and to how the story of the birth of Christ is made known and made new for us each year.

 

I am grateful for how St. Francis had the idea for the crèche which invites us to focus on the true spirit of the season. Beyond the decorations, beyond the carols, the food and the gatherings we come back to a simple, harsh cave and simple crib made from a feedbox where the child was born – our God with us in all the moments of our life.

 

The gift of the Nativity Scene is an invitation to be present to those who journey with us and those who inspire us. The uniqueness of each Nativity and how it is set up reminds us of the creativity and the gifts we share. As we pause before our Nativity Scenes in this special 800th anniversary year let us do so with grateful hearts praying for our loved ones, our neighbours and our communities.

Let us also prayer for peace in our broken world and for those who are hurting at this time of year.

 

Who am I being called to be present to this season?

How am I being invited to pause?

How is my relationship with the “Babe born in Bethlehem”?

 

 

Praying In The Season:

 

As you pause before your crèche/nativity pray in thanksgiving for those who have been a guide for in your journey of faith and those who inspire you in your faith journey now.

 

Turn your prayer into a message of gratitude by sending a gratitude Christmas card or email to these people.

 

Pray for those who share their creativity and talents by telling stories, creating art, music and places of beauty.

 

As you decorate your home or write cards and listen to carols be attentive to how the gifts of others bless you.

 

 

Continued Advent Blessings

 

 

Advent 2023 – 800 Years – Celebrating the Nativity Scene

Advent 2023 – 800 Years – Celebrating the Nativity Scene

Each year during the season of Advent we set up Nativity Scenes (crèches) in our homes and churches. This scene captures for us the glorious moment of Christ being born among us, telling the story of the Christ Child, Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds, the magi, and animals. Each Nativity Scene is unique as some have cultural ties, others are creative in style, and others are passed down from generation to generation. The way we set these scenes up in our homes is also unique – some of us place them under the tree, others on the mantle and still others create full background scenes to enhance the story.

I have loved the treasure of the Nativity Scene since I have been a child. Each year I would spend time just gazing upon the scene before me. I continue to do this now, to pause before the scene and be reminded of the mystery and gift of God with us. Any church or home I visit during the Advent and Christmas seasons I try to stop in front of the crèche for at least a moment of prayer. I would encourage all of us, no matter our age, to do this during this season – let us be reminded of why we celebrate.

I have had the great privilege of seeing many Nativities over the years. Some in places such as St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal, at a Nativity Festival in Wisconsin and even at Greccio in Italy. Each time being held captive by the creativity and beauty before me.

Greccio is the birthplace of the presentation of the Nativity Scene and this year we celebrate 800 years of this gift. St. Francis of Assisi is credited with creating or further enhancing this tradition in 1223. He had a desire for the people to be reminded of the birth of Christ – the simplicity and humbleness of God born in the poverty of life. He created the scene in a cave at Greccio (a favorite place of his to pray). He had his friend John help him carry in straw and bring in a donkey and ox. He then invited the people of Greccio to come with torches and candles and light the way to the cave and manger. There on Christmas Eve 1223, Midnight Mass was celebrated in the cave and the people were filled with wonder and awe. They encountered again the Christmas story not as a story of long ago, rather as a living real story which intersected with their lives. The annual tradition took hold and from 1223 the creating of the Nativity Scene has unfolded into an annual treasured Christmas ritual.

What is the story of your Nativity Scene?

Where did it come from?

Why do you like it?

 

Praying in the Season:

 

As you set up your nativity scene or spend time in prayer before it, pray with each part of the scene. Meditating with the nativity connects us with how St. Francis and the early brothers prayed. Place your self in the bible scene of the birth of Christ. Visualize it and prayerfully enter into it. Become one of the characters. How is your heart stirred? What are you being called to do or who are you being called to pray for?

 

Praying with the:

Stable and Manger – giving thanks for shelter and for the Bread of Life.

 

Animals – consider how they aid our living.

 

Shepherds – praying for the poor, those who labour to make ends meet for their families.

 

Magi – give thanks for the treasures we have and share with others.

 

Angels – pray for those who share good news with you and your community.

 

Mary and Joseph – pray for your parents, for young couples preparing for the birth of a child, for those who have journeyed with you.

 

Christ Child – give thanks and praise for the gift of God with us – Emmanuel – born for us.

 

 

Advent Blessings!

 

– Br. Michael, ofm

 

 

 

 

Blessing of the Christmas Crèche

– Br. Michael, ofm

 

Blessing of the Christmas Crèche

800 years ago in December of 1223, St. Francis of Assisi had an idea he wanted to share with the people of Greccio. He desired the people of his time to remember the birth of Christ, “to enact the memory of the babe who was born in Bethlehem where simplicity is given a place of honour, poverty is exalted, humility is commended, and out of Greccio is made a new Bethlehem.” This idea of his has unfolded into the Christmas tradition of Nativity Scenes (crèche) being created and displayed in our homes and churches. Each year when we set up our crèche, we make of our homes a new Bethlehem.
To honor this 800th Anniversary the Franciscans and Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre is hosting a Blessing of Creches on Sunday, December 3 at 2:30 pm. Bring your family nativity set to be blessed. Please register before December 1. mtfrancis@shaw.ca 403-932-2021 Limited space.