Thursday, December 5, 2019

Meeting the donors of this year's Christmas tree

Today, inside the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, the Holy Father, Pope Francis received in audience the delegations from Trentino and Veneto who came to deliver the Christmas tree for the crib scene that will be installed in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of His Holiness, Pope Francis
offered to the delegations from Trentino and Veneto

Dear brothers and sisters!

I am pleased to welcome you on the day when the nativity scene and Christmas tree are presented, set up in Saint Peter's Square, bound together by the common memory of the storm of last autumn that devastated many areas of the Triveneto. I greet all of you, beginning with my brother Bishops, whom I thank for your words. I express my deep gratitude to the civil authorities who supported the gift of these two Christmas religious symbols. You demonstrate the affection of the people of the Provinces of Trento, Vicenza and Treviso, particularly in some places located in the territories of the dioceses of Trento, Padua and Vittorio Veneto.

Today's meeting offers me the opportunity to renew my encouragement to your people, who suffered a devastating natural disaster last year, with the destruction of entire wooded areas. These are events that frighten us, they are alarm signals that creation sends us, and that ask us to make effective decisions immediately in order to safeguard our common home.

The lights that decorate the tree will be lit this evening. It will remain next to the crib until the end of the Christmas festivities, and both will be admired by numerous pilgrims from all over the world. Thank you, dear friends, for these gifts, and also for the smaller trees destined for other areas within the Vatican. I was pleased to learn that, replacing the plants removed, 40 fir trees will be replanted to replenish the woods that were severely damaged by the storm of 2018. The spruce you wanted to donate represents a sign of hope especially for your forests, so that they can soon be cleaned up and thus you can begin the reforestation work.

The crib, which is made almost entirely of wood and composed of architectural elements characteristic of the Trentino tradition, will help visitors savour the spiritual riches of the Lord's birth. The wooden trunks, coming from the areas hit by the storms, which form the backdrop to the landscape, underline the precariousness in which the Holy Family was found on that night in Bethlehem. The artistic nativity scene in Conegliano, located in the Paul VI Hall, will also help us to contemplate the humble cave where the Saviour was born.

As you know, a few days ago I was in Greccio to visit the place where Saint Francis created the first nativity scene. From there I published a letter concerning the crib, which is a simple and admirable sign of our faith and has not been lost; on the contrary, it is beautiful that it is handed down, from parents to children, from grandparents to grandchildren. It is a genuine way of communicating the Gospel, in a world that sometimes seems to be afraid of remembering what Christmas really is, and cancels the Christian signs in order to keep only those of a banal, commercial imagination.

Dear friends, I sincerely wish you, your fellow citizens and all the inhabitants of your regions the grace to spend the Christmas of the Lord with serenity and fraternity. May the Virgin Mary, who welcomed the Son of God in the weakness of human nature, help us to contemplate him in the face of those who suffer, and support us in our commitment to be in solidarity with the most fragile and weakest people. I cordially bless you, and I ask you to please pray for me. Thank you!
Testo originale nella lingua italiana
Texto en espaƱol

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