AREA — A wonderful tradition, originating during the papacy of Pope St. John Paul II, will be renewed at several Maine churches on December 11, the third Sunday of Advent. All children and families are encouraged to bring the Baby Jesus from their nativity sets at home for a “Blessing of the Bambinelli” to remind all the joyous event of Jesus’ arrival in the manger.

In Rome, families fill St. Peter’s Square on Gaudete Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent) for the blessing of the Gesù Bambino, the ‘little baby Jesus.’ On this day, the children bring from home their Christ-child figures, their bambinelli, in hands, in pockets, in backpacks, from their own family nativity scenes. Then, during the noontime Angelus address, the Holy Father invites all to hold up their bambinelli for a special blessing of the Christ-child figures, the children, and their families. Upon returning home, the figure is set safely out of sight for the remainder of Advent until happily placed in the crèche with the arrival of Christmas.

The blessings in Maine will be offered at: Jay, St. Rose of Lima Church, 1 Church Street on Sunday Dec. 11 at 8:30 a.m.

Farmington, St. Joseph Church, 133 Middle Street, Sunday Dec. 11 at 10:30 a.m.

“We invite young and old, children and adults, to participate in this powerful witness to our celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The nativity scene is a school of life where we can learn the secret of pure love and joy,” said Fr. Daniel Greenleaf, pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston.

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