Friars Contribute to Holiday Festivities in Boston and Around Province

John Maganzini, OFM In the Headlines

The report below describes one of many events held around the Province last month to celebrate Christmas. From New England to Florida, parishes, schools, retreat centers and community programs marked the holiday with services, music, festive meals and other seasonal events.

BOSTON — On Dec. 17, Brian Cullinane, OFM, and Mario Gomez, OFM, helped provide Christmas cheer to more than 140 children whose families are members of the Franciscan Food Center at St. Anthony Shrine.

In character as Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer respectively, Brian and Mario welcomed children and their families into the Assisi Room, which had been transformed into a magical winter wonderland for St Anthony Shrine’s second annual “Winter Warm-Up” event.

As their families picked up groceries, the children each received a Christmas stocking to fill with an assortment of little toys and treats, while being led through “Santa’s Workshop” by a volunteer elf. In addition to such stocking stuffer favorites as play-doh, coloring books and a Slinky, each child also received a new blanket, hat, gloves, socks and a scarf to help keep warm this winter.

Families were given the opportunity to take free photos with Santa, Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman, and the children were treated to Christmas cookies, juice-boxes, and a variety of candy, while classic holiday movies and music played in the background.

According to Julie Ogden, director of the shrine’s Kids Program: “This annual event is a great example of inter-ministry cooperation, with members of the Shrine’s 20s/30s Boston Young Adults group volunteering to dress up as the elves; members of the Seniors Craft Group providing hand-knit sweaters, hats and Christmas garland, as well as crocheted blankets to give away; and volunteers from the food center providing much needed assistance with set-up and client facilitation. We couldn’t have done this without the support of all involved, including the friars here at St Anthony Shrine.”

The photo above shows Brian with Raymond Selker, OFM, Mario and volunteers from the 20s/30s Boston Young Adults group.

— Br. John is a vicar at St. Anthony Shrine.