Vatican nativity includes quake-damaged church spire

Associated Press

Vatican City — The Vatican’s Christmas nativity scene has an unusual addition this year: a spire from one of the dozens of churches and basilicas that were damaged or destroyed in this year’s central Italy earthquakes.

The spire from the St. Benedict Basilica in Norcia, along with some rubble, lay next to the life-sized nativity scene that was unveiled Friday at a ceremony in St. Peter’s Square.

The Vatican said offerings left there will go toward rebuilding the Norcia church oratory, damaged Oct. 31.

Pope Francis urged visitors to recall that Jesus was a refugee of his time, born in a manger because there was no room at an inn.

He said: “Those who visit this scene are invited to rediscover its symbolic value, a message of fraternity, sharing, welcome and solidarity.”