Pope Francis blessed hundreds of figurines of the baby Jesus – ranging from tiny plastic figures to life-sized statues – and encouraged children to make sure they have Nativity scenes at home.
After reciting the Angelus prayer on 15th December, the third Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis did the traditional blessing of the “bambinelli,” or statues of the infant Jesus, for children to put in mangers at home, at school and in their parishes.
“Raise the statues up,” the pope told the children. “I bless them from my heart.”
Pope Francis then quoted from his new apostolic letter on the meaning and importance of the creche: “The Nativity scene is like a living Gospel…As we contemplate the Christmas story, we are invited to set out on a spiritual journey, drawn by the humility of the God who became man in order to encounter every man and woman. We come to realize that so great is his love for us that he became one of us, so that we in turn might become one with him.”
In his main Angelus address, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of answering the Advent call to conversion in preparation for Christmas.
“We are called to recognise the face God chose to assume in Jesus Christ, humble and merciful,” he said.
Picture: Pilgrims hold up figurines of the Christ Child as Pope Francis leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 15th December 2019. (CNS photo/Vatican Media).