The origins of the Bambinelli blessing

Maura Baker, Staff Writer

A recent, but beloved, annual tradition, the blessing of the Bambinelli, also called Bambinelli Sunday, was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1969. In Rome, the tradition falls on the Third Sunday of Advent, and children and their families are invited to bring with them their baby Jesus (Bambinelli) from their home nativity scene. The pope then blesses the Bambinellis following his Sunday Angelus address.

Pope Francis continues this tradition to this day, and parishes worldwide have also adapted the Bambinelli blessing into their Advent season, reinforcing the birth of Christ as the true meaning of the Christmas season.

This year, the Diocese of Covington will host a Bambinelli blessing of its own, Dec. 10, 6 p.m. at St. Mary’s Park, Cathedral Square, Covington. Children of the Diocese of Covington and their families are invited to bring the baby Jesus from their family nativity scene for Bishop John Iffert to bless.

The diocesan Christmas Tree will also be blessed and lit celebrating the joy of the third week of Advent as the Church approaches Christmas. Adding to the festivities, school choirs will sing traditional Christmas hymns and homemade cookies by the Curia staff will be served along with hot chocolate. Everyone is welcome. An RSVP is not necessary but is appreciated.

Image: St. Mary’s Park and the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, are reflected on a gold Christmas tree ornament in this “Messenger” file photo.