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Booklet - Creating Your Nativity Scene with Pope Francis - Greccio and the 'O Antiphons'

Francis of Assisi is credited with popularizing the nativity scene with a live re-enactment at Greccio 800 years ago.

For centuries, friars in Greccio, Italy, have gathered their habits tight against the cold of December and scurried into the cave-like chapel for evening prayer. In the flickering of candlelight, encouraged by Brother Draft, a single voice would rise in pitch and confidence as if scaling the mountain itself.

Chanted during 17-23 December, the O Antiphons recall titles of Jesus, the Messiah, that have echoed from seashores to mountain tops and from synagogues to chapels since Old Testament times.

Nestled within them, is a longing for the coming of Christ in glory, breathed afresh through the remembering of his first coming at Christmas.

(Friar Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. & Artist Friar Joseph Dorniak, OFM Conv.)

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