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Tuesday, December 12, 2017 25° Rain

Pope urges help for poor, unwanted as Vatican lights Xmas tree

Updated

By Agence France-Presse

Pope Francis Thursday called for charity towards the poor and unwanted, as he inaugurated this year’s Christmas tree, erected in the Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Square.

The huge Christmas tree in St Peter's square is illuminated with the dome of St Peter's basilica in the background. (AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The huge Christmas tree in St Peter’s square is illuminated with the dome of St Peter’s basilica in the background.
(AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

Each year a Christmas tree arrives from a European forest, this time the Polish State Forests Authority provided a 28-meter (92-foot) spruce.

The tree was decorated with ornaments made by children receiving treatment in Italian hospitals.

The huge nativity scene, with terracotta figures depicting the birth of Jesus Christ, installed alongside, is of a traditional design from Italy’s Napoli region.

The pope said the traditional seasonal event was a sign of “compassion” and that Christmas provides a chance “to be more attentive to the needs of the poor and of those who, like Jesus, do not find anyone to welcome them”.

In the evening thousands of people came to see the tree lit up.

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