On the third Sunday of Advent, despite the winter weather, thousands of children came to St. Peter's Square, each holding their tiny figures of Baby Jesus, as a part of a yearly tradition. For his first time as Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis blessed the tiny figures and the children holding them.
"Dear children, when you pray before your Nativity set, remember to pray for me. As I remember you all. I thank you and Merry Christmas!”
They were joined by their families and thousands of the pilgrims that packed the Square. Not even the rain could keep them away.
"Dear brothers and sister, I'm sorry that you are all under the rain. But I am with you from here. You're very brave! Thank you!”
In addition to the traditional blessing, Pope Francis also delivered a short message speaking about the joys of the Gospel. He noted that the third Sunday of Advent is also known as Rejoice Sunday, in anticipation of the Christmas celebrations. The Pope added that joy should also come from knowing the Church and God loves and welcomes each and every person.
"The Church is not a refuge for sad people. The Church is the house of joy. And those that are sad can find joy there. They can find the true joy.”
The Pope closed off his Angelus message with an appeal to Our Lady to allow each person to live out this time of the year with Joy. The joy, he added, in anticipating the birth of Jesus.