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Figurines blessed

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope John Paul II blessed figurines of Jesus and asked children to pray for him at Christmas.

The Pope made the remarks on December 14 from his apartment window overlooking St Peter’s Square, where hundreds of children held up Christmas creche statuettes of Jesus for an annual papal blessing.

“Dear children and young people, when you put your figurine of baby Jesus in the creche, say a prayer for me and for the many people who turn to the Pope in their problems,” he said.

In a brief talk, the Pope said Advent was an especially joyful time because it reminds people that God has touched human history.

“To know that God is not far away but near, not indifferent but compassionate, not withdrawn but a merciful father who follows us lovingly while respecting our freedom – all this is cause for a profound joy that the events of daily routine cannot erode,” he said.

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