Pope John Paul II instituted the celebration of Bambinelli Sunday on the Third Sunday of Advent, or Gaudete Sunday. The Pope invited the children of Rome to assemble in St Peter’s Square bringing the little statue of the Baby Jesus from their nativity set at home. Pope John Paul II blessed the little figurines and gave instructions for the Baby to be placed under the Christmas tree at home until Christmas day, where he would then be placed in the manger – marking the arrival of Christ.

Take home, with great care, the little statue of the Infant Jesus, also as a sign of the Pope’s love for you and your families. Put it in your Crib with intense faith, with that faith wherewith the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, laid the new-born Jesus in the manger (cf. Lk 2:7).
Invite your father, your mother, your brothers and sisters, the whole of your family, to gather round the Crib in these days of the Christmas Novena, to recite together the prayers learned on your mother’s lap, to sing the sweet carols, so charged with human and Christian sentiment.
May the Infant Jesus, present in the Crib of your home, be the concrete sign of a limpid and sincere faith, which will enlighten, guide and direct your life and that of your dear ones.

The tradition continues to this day in Rome and is now celebrated by parishes across the world. Many homes in our parish still give a central place to the crib among their Christmas preparations. On the weekend of Saturday and Sunday the 14th and 15th of December we invite you to bring the Baby Jesus from your home to mass and they will be blessed by the celebrant.