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Pope visits Vatican Nativity

Manger scene honors pope and namesake Saint Francis

31 December, 19:28
Pope visits Vatican Nativity (ANSA) - Vatican City, December 24 - Pope Francis visited a large nativity scene erected in St Peter's Square inside the Vatican Tuesday following his first year-end Vespers celebration as pontiff. The life-size nativity scene, donated by the Archdiocese of Naples, was unveiled Christmas Eve by Francis, who took the name of the humble saint from Assisi credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223.

The Swiss Guard played Christmas music as Francis and the popemobile approached the creche entitled 'Francis 1223-Francis 2013', which covers the life of St Francis and the pontificate of Pope Francis.

Several Christmastime events await the pope in the New Year.

On Wednesday, the morning of January 1, Francis will celebrate Mass and speak on the theme of the Church's 47th annual World Day of Peace, "Fraternity: the foundation and path for peace".

The cycle of the Christmas liturgies will conclude on January 6 with Mass celebrating the feast of the Epiphany, marking the baptism of Jesus, as well as a baptism of newborns in the Sistine Chapel.