L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Pope: 'Before the Crib, Let's Have Spirit of Children'

Addressing Those Who Donated Tree and Manger in St. Peter’s Square, Says Manger Scenes Are Reminders “to Make Room in Society, Our Lives, for God”

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‘Before the Crib, let us allow ourselves to be attracted, with the spirit of children…

Pope Francis made this invitation this morning when receiving in audience the delegation from Malta and Trentino for the gift of the Crib and of the Christmas Tree set up in Saint Peter’s Square.

If we allow this, Francis encouraged, “we understand God’s goodness and contemplate His mercy, which was made human flesh to tenderize our eyes.”

Francis had begun his address expressing his gratitude on the occasion of the inauguration of the tree and the crib, which takes place today and which can be viewed via live streaming on Vatican YouTube.

While reflecting on the 25-metre tree from their region of Trentino, Francis stressed, “A special thought goes to you children, who decorated the tree.” Children with cancer gifted this year’s ceramic ornaments which decorate the tree.

“The colored spheres you created,” he said, “depict the values of life, of love and of peace, which Christ proposes to us again every year.

The crib placed in Saint Peter’s Square is the work of artist Manwel Grech of Gozo. It reproduces the Maltese landscape and is completed by the traditional cross of Malta and of the “luzzu,” a typical Maltese boat, which also recalls the reality of migrants on barges directed to Italy.

“In the painful experience of these brothers and sisters, we see again that of the Baby Jesus, who at the moment of birth did not find lodging and was born in a cave of Bethlehem,” Francis said.

Cribs’ Symbolic Value

“All those who will visit this Crib,” Francis continued, “will be invited to rediscover its symbolic value, which is a message of fraternity, of sharing, of hospitality and of solidarity.”

“The Cribs set up in churches, in homes and in so many public places,” the Pope added, invite us “to make room in our life and society for God, hidden in the face of many persons who are in conditions of hardship, of poverty and of tribulation.”

“The Crib and the Tree,” Francis stressed, “are a message of hope and of love, and they help to create a favorable Christmas atmosphere to live with faith the mystery of the Birth of the Redeemer, who came on earth with simplicity and meekness.”
Pope Francis concluded, thanking those present and expressing his wish that they and all the inhabitants of their lands, spend “the Lord’s Birth with serenity and intensity.”
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-address-to-those-who-donated-st-peters-crib-tree/

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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