The Babe of Bethlehem Is Born on Long Island

The Babe of Bethlehem: A New Contemplative Christmas Concert 

On December 17th, The Babe of Bethlehem was “born” in a special Contemplative Christmas Concert in the historic Rosary Hall Chapel at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville, NY.  The Babe of Bethlehem is a new musical production written by the Co-Director of Communications of the Sisters of St. Dominic Lena Pennino-Smith and arranged by her husband Brian Smith.

The music was written in honor of the 800th Anniversary of the tradition of the Nativity Play, which began when St. Francis of Assisi preached the Christmas Story in front of a manger, a donkey, and an ox in the little town of Greccio, Italy. It should be noted that St. Francis and St. Dominic were contemporaries who shared a mission to reform and rebuild the Church.  

The concert featured a children's choir (the youngest was four years old) and an adult choir of Long Island performers.  It also boasted a band of piano, bass, guitar, including Amityville Dominican Sister Carol Standerwick on drums. The music was accompanied by reflections about Mary, Joseph, the angels, shepherds, wise people and more -- preached by Farm Founder Dominican Sisters Jeanne Clark, Barbara Schwarz, Margaret Galiardi, Mary Anna Euring, as well as Dominican Associate Joseph Martin, Dominican Father Ron Henery, Franciscan Brother of Brooklyn Brother Richard Contino and Executive Director of the Farm Elizabeth Keihm.

There were many positive responses to this prayerful event:

"It was a beautiful beginning to Christmas week."

"It made me laugh and cry...It was of God."

"The Babe of Bethlehem was amazing," said Sister Barbara Schwarz, a friend of the farm. "It wasn't just a sweet children's Nativity. It spoke to the depth of the Gospel and called us into integrating it into our lives."

“We hope many people will continue to be blessed by the music,” said Lena Pennino-Smith, who plans to record an album of the songs this year.  “We are still buzzing from this spirit-filled event.  We are so grateful to God for the opportunity to share this creative endeavor with people.  Special thanks to Elizabeth Keihm who has been such an important advocate for this prayerful production.”

This original concert was the final event sponsored by Homecoming Farm, an organic CSA which closed in December.  More than 200 people attended the event. "This was a beautiful event honoring the conclusion of 27 years of Homecoming Farm," said Elizabeth Keihm, executive director of Homecoming Farm. "In this special chapel, you could feel the spirit of love and gratitude from so many people who have been a part of the life of the farm for so many years."

To watch the contemplative concert, visit our Livestream page here(Scroll down to the date.) To view more pictures from the event taken by Harry Bachmann, click here.  For more information on musical projects for families by Pennino-Smith, go to or contact Lena at