MERIDEN, CT (11-19-2017) “Thousands enjoy Franciscan Life Center Christmas Fair” read the headline of the online Meriden Record-Journal story of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist’s 26th annual Christmas Fair. People of all ages spread through the campus of the Franciscan Life Center, carrying their purchases of pottery, homemade breads, candles, cookies, jams and pickles, knitted items, grab bag surprises, garden tools, and a variety of gently used treasures found at the “Merry Miscellaneous” shop. Others take a break and enjoy hotdogs, fried dough, coffee or fresh cinnamon rolls.

The highlight of the event each year is the Living Creche which takes place three times during the day. A procession of angels, shepherds and kings accompany Mary and Joseph with their newborn baby to the hay-lined manger where sheep and goats are grazing. Musicians lead the crowd in singing Christmas songs and the account of the birth of Jesus is read aloud. Santa makes an appearance, adoring the Christ Child and reminds those present that Jesus is the reason for the celebration of Christmas around the world.

The Franciscan Christmas Fair has become an inter-Center event as Sisters from Pocatello, Idaho, Bridal Veil, Oregon, Lowell, Michigan, and Falls Church, Virginia come to lend their talents and well-honed skills in baking, organizing, sign-making and helping-wherever-needed spirit to the local Center. Lay volunteers this year traveled from Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Florida and New York to join the other 150 lay people who are heads of committees or volunteers for the day.