During the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, Pope Francis announced a forthcoming letter on the meaning of the manger.

The Holy Father said first of all that he will be going to Greccio next Sunday, December 1, on the occasion of the first Sunday of the Season of Advent, which prepares for Christmas.

This town of Umbria, in the Province of Rieti, northeast of Rome, is, in fact, the first place of the manger made by its Patron Saint, Francis of Assisi, three years before his death. “I will go to Greccio, to pray in the place of the first manger of Saint Francis of Assisi,” he said.

Then the Holy Father announced a  “letter to all believers to understand the meaning of the manger,” while the setting up of the manger advances in St. Peter’s Square.

On greeting young people, the sick and newlyweds in Italian at the end of the Audience, the Pontiff hoped that “the expectation of the Saviour” will fill hearts “with hope” and find each one “joyful in the service of the neediest.”

The Pope already went to Greccio in January 2016. He recollected himself in prayer before the fresco representing the first manger made in Greccio by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223. He also took time for an exchange with the Shrine’s Franciscan community.

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