(Vatican Radio) At the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis welcomed the children of Rome for the traditional “Bambinelli Blessing.” On Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Lent, Roman boys and girls bring the baby Jesus from their Nativity sets to Saint Peter’s Square to be blessed by the Pope.
Speaking after the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father thanked the children for coming, and wished them a happy Christmas. He asked them to remember to pray for him when they said their prayers before their Nativity set, and assured them that he prayed for them, too. “Prayer is the breath of the soul,” he said. “ It is important to find moments throughout the day to open the heart to God, even with the short and simple prayers of the Christian people.”
Pope Francis also surprised the children, and all those present, with the gift of a small pocket prayer book “that gathers together some prayer for the various moments of the day and for different situations in life.” He asked them to always carry their prayerbook with them, as an aid to living the whole day “united to God.”
Fifty thousand prayerbooks, produced by the Office of Papal Charities and published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (the Vatican publishing house), were distributed to those gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus.
Also following the Angelus, Poe Francis greeted pilgrims from Italy and around the world. He mentioned in particular pilgrims from Poland, saying “I unite myself spiritually to their fellow citizens who today are lighting the ‘Christmas Candle,’ and I re-affirm the duty of solidarity, especially in this ‘Year of Charity’ which is being celebrated in Poland.”