Europe

Vatican nativity scene includes quake-damaged church spire

  • The Christmas Tree and nativity scene are lit up in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican during a ceremony, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    The Christmas Tree and nativity scene are lit up in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican during a ceremony, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

  • People pose for a photograph in front a the lit Christmas Tree and nativity scene in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    People pose for a photograph in front a the lit Christmas Tree and nativity scene in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis poses for a selfie with faithful during an audience with the donors of the Christmas tree and Nativity scene set up in St. Peter's Square, in Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. The Christmas tree was donated from the Trentino region, and the Nativity scene comes from Malta. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

    Pope Francis poses for a selfie with faithful during an audience with the donors of the Christmas tree and Nativity scene set up in St. Peter's Square, in Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. The Christmas tree was donated from the Trentino region, and the Nativity scene comes from Malta. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

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 Friday at a ceremony in St. Peter's Square.

The Vatican said offerings left there will go toward rebuilding the Norcia church oratory, damaged Oct. 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."