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Francis blesses Christ Child figures for Nativity scenes

Pope Francis pictured at the Nativity scene in St Peter's Square last year (CNS)

Pope Francis has blessed the figures of the Christ Child which will be placed in the mangers of Nativity scenes in Rome and throughout the rest of Italy this Christmas.

On Sunday, the Pope gave the traditional blessing on the day of the ‘Children’s Jubilee’, a Year of Mercy celebration that is devoted to youngsters, Vatican Radio reports.

After reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis addressed those gathered in St Peter’s Square.

“Dear children, listen carefully: when you pray before your Nativity Scene, remember to pray also for me, as I shall remember you” he said. “I thank you heartily – and have a Merry Christmas!”

The Pope also prayed for the victims of the massive flooding in India recently.

“My thoughts turn in this moment to the dear populations of India, recently stricken by a great flood,” he said.

“Let us pray for these brothers and sisters, who are suffering as a result of this great calamity.”

Flooding hit the city of Chennai earlier this month after a deluge of 500mm of rainfall in just a 24 hour period. At least 270 people are believed to have died in the resulting floods.