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Circus members greet Pope Francis after their performance during Wednesday's general audience in St Peter's Square (CNS)

Circus performers entertained the Pontiff and the faithful during Wednesday’s general audience

The lady gave birth yesterday morning in St Peter's Square (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The woman has been offered a place at a women’s shelter run by the Missionaries of Charity

Tourists take a photograph in St Peter's Square (AP)

The Prefecture of the Papal Household said that 3.2 million pilgrims visited this year compared with 5.9 million the year before

The Christmas tree is positioned in St Peter's Square (Photo: CNS)

An 82ft Bavarian fir tree is already in place ready to mark the beginning of the Holy Year

Pope Francis (AP)

Pope Francis addressed the crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square on Sunday

French peacekeeping soldiers patrolling the city of Bangui in Central African Republic in September (PA)

Francis is due to visit the troubled country later this month

Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of the synod  (AP)

The Pope referred to the conclusion of the synod on the family during his Angelus address

Pope Francis greets faithful as he arrives for his weekly general audience (AP)

At his general audience, the Pope prayed for the intercession of ‘the pope of the family’, St John Paul II

The Gift of Mercy, a shelter for homeless men (CNS)

Housed in a Jesuit-owned building, the Gift of Mercy shelter was created by funds from the papal almoner

Pope Francis delivers a blessing as he arrives in St Peter's Square today  (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Francis made the surprise comments at today’s general audience in St Peter’s Square