If someone in need came to your door tonight, how would you greet them? Would you shut the door and tell them to go elsewhere, or would you welcome them with open arms and an open heart?
Joseph and Mary were once those people in need, wandering through the streets of Bethlehem searching for shelter, but all doors along their path were shut to them.
In our busy lives today, we often fill our schedules so tightly that we sometimes shut the doors of our hearts. Between the constant shuffle of day-to-day work and activities, we’ve closed ourselves off from opportunities to open our hearts to Jesus. But this Advent season, the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is giving you the opportunity to change that.
Door to Bethlehem is an interactive faith drama that allows you to join Joseph and Mary on their journey to Bethlehem to seek shelter. Families are led through the grounds of the Seton Shrine by a guide to hear and see how people in our day reject the coming Christ.
“A fundamental question of the Christian life is whether we welcome Christ into our daily lives or whether our hearts reject him,” said Rob Judge, executive director of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. “Like our other faith dramas, Door to Bethlehem helps people to find their true purpose with our loving God, encouraging people to develop a closer, personal relationship with our Lord.”
After meeting a variety of people who represent those recognizable in our lives or even in ourselves, the guided walk ends at the Seton Shrine’s Basilica, where you will find the door to Bethlehem and welcome Christ in a new way.
This year marks the 6th year that the Seton Shrine has produced Door to Bethlehem. Faith dramas are an integral part of the mission of the Shrine. The annual Back from the Dead program in October attracted nearly 2,500 people this year. The Shrine also uses live actors during the tourism season to show what life was like for Mother Seton and the nation’s first order of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, which she established in Emmitsburg in the early 19th century. Mother Seton is the first native-born American saint.
The homes that Mother Seton and the sisters lived, taught and worshiped in remain and are open to the public, giving visitors a rare opportunity to literally walk in the footsteps of a saint.
Door to Bethlehem takes place on two December weekends, Dec. 10-11 and 17-18. Walks are held every 15 minutes between 5:00 and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 and free for children under 6 years old. Visitors are encouraged to get their tickets in advance as many time slots for the event have historically sold out. Walk-ins will only be admitted if space is available.
For more details and to purchase tickets, please visit setonshrine.org/door-to-bethlehem.