On the third Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis blesses the “Bambinelli” or baby Jesus statues saying, “the Nativity Scene is like a living Gospel.” It was during the Angelus fifty years ago that St. Paul VI first blessed the statues of the Child Jesus brought by children to St. Peter’s Square. That tradition has continued ever since on the Third Sunday of Advent, and is fondly known as “Bambinelli Sunday.”
The theme chosen by the Roman Oratory Centre for this appointment with Pope Francis on Sunday was “It’s Christmas here too”, selected for this blessing to remind everyone, young and old, that Jesus is born in every place.
Speaking from the window of his studio in the Apostolic Palace, the Pope greeted the children present in St Peter’s Square, telling them he blessed the statues of the Child Jesus for their Christmas Scenes “with all my heart.” Recalling his recent Apostolic Letter on the meaning and importance of the Nativity Scene, he said, “the crib is like a living Gospel. Contemplating the Christmas story is like setting out on a spiritual journey, drawn by the humility of the God who became man in order to encounter every man and woman.” “So great is His love for us”, quoted the Pontiff, “that He became one of us, so that we, in turn, might become one with Him.”
Following the recitation of the Marian Prayer, the Pope reminded those present that in less than a year, from 13 to 20 September 2020, the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Budapest. For more than a century, said the Pope, “the Eucharistic Congresses have been reminding us that the Eucharist is at the center of the Church’s life. The theme of the next Congress will be “All my sources are in you”. We pray that “the Eucharistic event in Budapest may foster processes of renewal in Christian communities, so that the salvation of which the Eucharist is the source may also be translated into a Eucharistic culture capable of inspiring men and women of goodwill in the fields of charity, peace, family, care of creation”. Vatican News Department