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Vatican nativity scene includes spire from church damaged in Italy quake

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 at a ceremony in St Peter's Square.

The Vatican said offerings left there will go towards rebuilding the Norcia church oratory, damaged on October 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."

AP

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