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Bambinelli Sunday

Pope Francis kissing Bambinelli in St Peter's Square
Pope Francis kisses a figurine of the baby Jesus as he arrives to celebrate Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The tradition of Bambinelli Sunday was begun during The papacy of Pope John Paul II to remind families about the joyous event of Baby Jesus’ arrival in the manger and is celebrated on the third Sunday of Advent.

On that day children gather with their families in St. Peter’s Square and bring figures of the Christ Child (Bambinelli’s) from their family’s Nativity scene. During the noontime Angelus prayer, Pope Francis blesses the children and the figurines they have brought.

The Nativity scene is a school of life where we can learn the secret of pure love and joy. Today, that tradition has spread throughout the world as a powerful witness to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.Many churches now encourage the faithful to bring the Baby Jesus figurines from their home Nativity sets to the church for this special blessing.

This Advent tradition is a way for children to connect their Nativity scene at home to the celebration of Christmas at their church.