USCCB News Release
December 17, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Franciscan Shrine Site for Christmas Eve TV Special
WASHINGTON—"Christmas Eve from the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, San Francisco" will be available to ABC-TV stations nationwide for broadcast at their discretion on Christmas Eve, December 24. The hour-long program was produced by New Group Media for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Office of Digital Media with a grant from the USCCB's Catholic Communication Campaign.
Msgr. Harry Schlitt, vicar for administration and moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, hosts the program from the shrine's newly dedicated Porziuncola Chapel, a replica of a small church in Italy that was rebuilt by St. Francis of Assisi. From here, viewers learn about the "crèche," or nativity scene, a Christmas symbol that was made popular by St. Francis. Themes of peace from the life of St. Francis and those of the Christmas story are intertwined throughout the production, including the clay animation feature, "The First Christmas," which beautifully illustrates the nativity Gospels.
Musicians and vocalists, including some from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, perform classic Christmas hymns including "Angels We Have Heard on High," "O Holy Night," "The First Noel," and "Silent Night."
"Christmas Eve from the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi, San Francisco" is scheduled to air beginning at midnight December 24 on participating ABC-TV affiliates. This special program is provided by the USCCB through its membership in the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, a consortium of religious groups that provides spiritual programming to network television. A listing of scheduled broadcasts of the program on stations throughout the U.S. and Canada can be found on the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission Web site.