Father Daniel Nash’s face twinkled like the newly lit Christmas tree as more than 200 people gathered in Glen Cove’s Village Square to sing Christmas carols and remember the nativity story.
“There wasn’t a lot of space for it in the original nativity scene, but there’s plenty of room in Glen Cove,” Nash said to Glen Cove residents about the nativity scene.
After a few laughs from the audience, he said a prayer at the seventh blessing of the creche.
Nash is a member of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine, a religious order of priests from Austria, and is celebrating Christmas in the United States for the first time in a long time.
“To see our priests really enjoy this, and have the creche out in the open — it’s such a sense of community,” said Fran Howlett, the director of music ministry for St. Patrick’s Church.
The tradition was started seven years ago by members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Jack McDougal, Eddie Doohan, Ralph Pedone and Al Baker. They built a creche together as a reminder of the holiday’s original meaning. In 2007, the creche was dedicated to Baker after he died.
“It really brings back the spirit of Christmas,” said Saverio Gallace, 55, who came with his wife, Rosa, and his 2-year-old grandson, Anthony.
Decked out in green robes and red Christmas hats, the St. Patrick Church children’s choir sang holiday carols.
Glen Cove residents snapped pictures of their children and sang along with the pastors and Mayor Ralph Suozzi.
Teresa Sullivan brought four of her five children to the celebration. Her daughter, Evelyn, 7, sang in the children’s choir.
“I like to take the kids to as many events like this as possible,” Sullivan said. “I want that to be our tradition, so that they know that their religion is not just in church, it’s everywhere.”
Photo: Evelyn Sullivan, 7, and Eamonn Sullivan, 6, take a close look at the creche in Glen Cove Village Square. (Dec. 2, 2011)