(Vatican Radio) Thousands of people gathered in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica on
Christmas Eve for the unveiling of the Nativity Scene.
Entitled “Francis 1223
– Francis 2013”, traditional display recalls the world’s first nativity scene set
up 790 years ago by Italy’s popular patron St. Francis of Assisi, whose name and humble
lifestyle Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio assumed on being elected Pope.
year’s Nativity Scene was crafted by artisans from the southern Italian city of Naples,
which is famous for its Christmas displays.
In addition to the traditional
figures of the Holy Family and the shepherds, with the Magi approaching from a distance,
the scene features figures representing the poorest members of society. They include
a mother bringing her son to see the Christ Child, and a beggar, poorly dressed and
dirty, sitting at Jesus’ feet.