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Local Franciscans in Diocese of Wilmington help commemorate 800th anniversary of Christmas at Greccio — Photo gallery

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In this file photo from 2019, Pope Francis prays during a visit to the Chapel of the Nativity, a grotto in Greccio, Italy, where tradition says the first Nativity scene was assembled by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

To commemorate the 800th Anniversary of Christmas at Greccio, and for the plenary indulgence granted by Pope Francis for pilgrimage in its observance through Feb. 2, 2024, the faithful are invited to visit the Franciscan presence in Wilmington:

  • Sacred Heart Oratory, 917 North Madison Street, Wilmington, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday Mass, 9 a.m. (302) 428-3658
  • Francis of Assisi Friary, 1901 Prior Road, Wilmington, Monday-Friday Mass, 8 a.m. Saturday Mass, 8:30 a.m. Sunday Mass, 9 a.m. (302) 798-1454.

When Catholics (and others) come across Nativity scenes around the Diocese of Wilmington in the next few weeks, they can thank the original Franciscan, St. Francis of Assisi, who carved the first depiction of Jesus’ birth into rock inside a cave in Italy 800 years ago.

The Diocese of Wilmington is the home of approximately 60 religious men and women who belong to various congregations that follow the Franciscan charism. They serve in a number of ministries, including education, health care, social services and parish ministry.