Pope Francis met with pilgrims from Calabria and Verona. These two Italian regions donated the Christmas Tree and Nativity Scene that decorate St. Peter's Square this year.
Although a few days late, the bishops who led the group didn't miss the opportunity to congratulate the Pope for his 78th birthday.
"Your Holiness. Good morning and happy birthday.”
Pope Francis listened to the greetings along with a child who sat by his side. In his address, the Pope told them that both the Christmas Tree and the Nativity Scene showed the Christian heritage of their regions.
"Thank you very much for these two Christmas gifts, that will be admired by many pilgrims from all over the world.”
The Pope also explained that the Christmas Tree and the Nativity Scene are a sign of friendship and fraternity, since they speak to the heart of all kinds of people, including non-believers. He concluded that they bring a message of light, hope and love.