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Pope Francis arrives at the Paul VI hall for a meeting with large families (AP)

Pontiff urges policy-makers to support larger families

Pope Francis smiles during the Angelus address (AP)

Pope says St Stephen ‘offered as a gift his life in service for the poorest’

Pope Francis appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica to deliver his Urbi et Orbi message (AP)

‘Truly there are so many tears this Christmas,’ says Pontiff, ‘together with the tears of the Infant Jesus’

Pope Francis appears for his Urbi et Orbi blessing on Christmas Day (AP/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pontiff prays for children ‘abused and exploited under our eyes’ in Urbi et Orbi message

Pope Francis kisses the statue of the Christ Child at Midnight Mass in St Peter's Basilica (AP)

The Nativity shows ‘that God is Father and that his patient fidelity is stronger than darkness and corruption’

An elderly Sri Lankan prays at a roadside shrine of St Anthony in Colombo (AP)

Official insist Francis’s trip next month is on schedule

An Iraqi Christian child who fled violence in Mosul (CNS)

Francis writes Christmas message of support to beleaguered Christians in the Middle East

The synod fathers attending a session of the family synod (AP)

Reflections ‘will aid the process of true spiritual discernment that the Holy Father has asked the Church to engage in’

Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad (CNS)

Patriarch Sako dismisses fears over Pope Francis’s safety were a visit to take place

Pope Francis appealed to officials to take care of their spiritual life (CNS)

In his annual end of year address to Vatican officials, Francis says he prays daily to the English martyr