(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 12.06.2023).- As tradition dictates on the third Sunday of Advent, the “Blessing of the Baby Jesus” returns, becoming an essential event on the path to Christmas for oratories, youth groups, parishes, and families in Rome.
The theme for this new edition of the gathering, launched in the late sixties by Pope Paul VI, is “Jesus, a gift for all,” emphasizing the significance of the One at the heart of the Christmas celebration, a true gift for the Church and all of humanity.
On December 17, from early morning, St. Peter’s Square will welcome groups of children, teenagers, and catechists from Roman parishes for a moment of meeting and animation, organized by the Center for Roman Oratories. At 10:30, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, will preside over the solemn Eucharistic celebration at the Altar of the Confession to collectively experience “Gaudete Sunday” and spiritually prepare for the upcoming Christmas festivities. Subsequently, all groups will move to the square to participate at 12:00 noon in the Angelus prayer with Pope Francis and receive the blessing of the Baby Jesus figurines in an atmosphere of celebration and true joy.
The meeting represents a central moment in the path of the oratories toward Holy Christmas, placing the true protagonist at the center and helping both young and old to fully experience the centrality of the birth of Baby Jesus in the parish and in their families.
It will be possible to register for the event through the COR website (www.centrooratoriromani.org) or by contacting the association’s secretariat, founded by Venerable Arnaldo Canepa for the dissemination and promotion of the oratorian pastoral care in Rome.
In recent years, this event has gained popularity in Italy and abroad (United States, Philippines, England, Ireland, South America, and many others), involving hundreds of communities and dioceses where bishops and priests have chosen to dedicate this Advent Sunday to the encounter with the Baby Jesus figurines and to welcome families, animators, and religious members of the local Church.
“As every year, but each time in a special and different way, we renew this great occasion to celebrate the third Sunday of Advent in the splendid Basilica of St. Peter,” said COR President Stefano Pichierri, symbolizing our being a joyful and festive Church in Rome. In the Oratory, children and families can look at Christmas with new eyes, understanding that the true gift is the one given by the Father, from a God Child who walks with us and illuminates our lives. We hope to live a happy community day under the sign of mutual and gratuitous giving, which our society so desperately needs.”
Information sourced from COR.