St. Francis was the first person to create a live manger scene in the city of Grecio for a midnight Mass in 1223. Years later nativity scenes were created in smaller versions to inspire people to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

St. Francis of Assisi was the first person to create a live manger scene in the city of Greccio, Italy for a midnight Mass in 1223. Years later nativity scenes were created in smaller versions to inspire people to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Francis and Pat

Merry Christmas!

I  once traveled on a pilgrimage to Assisi and visited Greccio where Francis held the first live nativity. The local church hosts creches from around the world on which to feast our eyes.

*It happened, three years prior to his death, that he decided to celebrate at the town of Greccio the memory of the birth of the Child Jesus with the greatest possible solemnity, in order to arouse devotion. So that this would not be considered a type of novelty, he petitioned for and obtained permission from the Supreme Pontiff.

He had a manger prepared,

hay carried in and an ox and an ass led to the spot.

The brethren are summoned,

the people arrive,

the forest amplifies with their cries,

and that venerable night is rendered

brilliant and solemn

by a multitude of bright lights

and by resonant and harmonious hymns of praise.

  • Pilgrim’s Companion to Franciscan Places, p 143-144, (St. Bonaventure, Major Legend X:7)
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