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Pope Francis prays in front of a Nativity scene during a visit to the  Franciscan shrine in Greccio, Italy (CNS)

Francis made a surprise visit to the place where St Francis of Assisi created the world’s first Nativity scene

Bishop Anthony Fisher was taken ill before Christmas (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Archbishop Fisher was hospitalised after contracting Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition that affects the nervous system

Pope Francis spreads incense on the statue of Baby Jesus as he arrives to celebrate a Mass for families (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Learn from baby Jesus, Pope says

People can ‘make baby Jesus smile by demonstrating our love and our joy because he is among us’

Pope Francis waves to the crowds in St Peter's Square (AP)

Pope Francis delivered his Urbi et Orbi message from St Peter’s Basilica

Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi  message at the Vatican (AP)

Pope Francis delivered the Urbi et Orbi message from the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica

Pope Francis holds the book of the Gospel as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter's Basilica (AP)

The Pope’s homily from Midnight Mass in St Peter’s Basilica

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Christmas Eve (CNS)

The Pontiff has celebrated the traditional Midnight Mass at St Peter’s Basilica

Pope Francis greets a baby during the audience to exchange Christmas greetings with Vatican employees in Paul VI hall (CNS)

Francis offered pre-Christmas greetings to Vatican workers and their family members at the Paul VI hall

Young internally displaced Iraqis try to dig a drainage trench after heavy rains in early November at a camp in Baghdad. (CNS)

‘In Iraq, we will celebrate the birth of Christ in silence and tears,’ said Patriarch Sako of Baghdad

An Eastern Orthodox Church in Antartica (AP)

Everyday Saints and Other Stories recounts how a student and his friends turned to religion