“It was a lovely evening full of prayerful insights and fun together,” Fr. Henry Beck says of the Franciscan Christmas Mini-Retreat at St. Francis Retreat House in Easton, Pa. Almost 70 guests came for what they say felt like a family get-together, with supper cooked by chef Roslyn Garzillo and associate Keren Donato.

“After the meal, we met for a contemplative hour with reflections and meditative music and poems on the persons and figures of the Christmas crèche,” with background on the introduction of the crèche in Greccio in 1223. After a cookies-and-cider break, Henry says, “We re-gathered for the singing of Christmas carols together and watching two short Charlie Brown Christmas videos, along with a lovely video and the singing of O Holy Night by Josh Groban.”

The crèche they assembled around was given to the retreat house by friars at Valparaiso, Ind., when they closed that friary. “One faithful member of our Sunday Community offered that this ‘was her Church family Christmas celebration.’”

The SFRH Retreat Committee (Fr. Henry, Jeannie Panella, Carol Herman and Diane Rice) planned the evening and prepared the reflections.