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This year the local Catholic Family Network (CFN), with the help of Fr. Robert OFM Conv. and the Wexford friars, Rev. Fr. James Cullen CC from the local parish and the Sisters of the Incarnate Word from Bunclody, decided to inaugurate a live Christmas Nativity scene. The friars generously allowed them to use the friary grounds outside the church (this seemed fitting given that the Christmas crib tradition was begun by St. Francis all those centuries ago in Greccio). The organisation of the event began early: for example securing a crib, the loaning of animals, canvassing volunteers, ensuring publicity, contacting local schools.

The organisers worked very hard and their efforts certainly paid dividends. An impressive hand built wooden crib was secured along with a pen for the donkey and sheep. Many members of the CFN and their friends volunteered to be the Holy Family, the shepherds and the Three Wise Men - yes there was a real infant playing the part of the Christ Child!

This was a two day event. On the Saturday afternoon there were huge crowds of people - both adults and children - mostly from the immediate vicinity. It was overcast and cold, but at least the rain stayed away. Hot refreshments were provided for all. A choir sang Christmas carols. Confessions were available. And lest we forget that Jesus is the Reason for the Season, there was Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the transcript chapel.

On the second day, Monday morning and afternoon, there were even bigger crowds, and the sun shone gloriously. This day was reserved for the schoolchildren. There were literally hundreds of schoolchildren, accompanied by their teachers, and they loved the crib. Fr. Robert gave them a talk on Greccio. They visited the church, and were given another talk on St. Adjutor, the young Roman martyr whose shrine lies in the church. Each of them received a special candle and a prayer card. Adoration continued as on Saturday.

This event, the first of its kind in the Wexford friary, proved a great success. Fr. Aquino, the Father Guardian, expressed his congratulations to the organisers in the CFN. Hopefully we can do the same again next year.

Bro. Solanus Mary
16 December 2019

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