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Pope meets baby Jesus, carries lamb during visit to live Nativity scene

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Surrounded by cheese sellers, shoemakers and bleating, baying animals, Pope Francis immersed himself in a lively re-enactment of a special day in Bethlehem.

He even let a lamb rest on his shoulders and greeted a tiny baby named Francis, who played the part of Jesus, when he visited a live Nativity scene Monday at the Church of St. Alfonso Maria dei Liguori on the northern outskirts of Rome.

Francis wows on Twitter too, even in Latin

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As 2013 reached an end, Pope Francis’ burgeoning following on Twitter crossed the 11 million mark, taking all nine of his accounts in different languages into view. Spanish leads the way, with four and a half million pope followers, while English was in second place with three and a half million.

Given the wide popularity of the new pope, the fact that he’s now the most followed religious figure in the Twitter universe, surpassing the 8.2 million who follow the Dali Lama, is probably no real surprise.

Hours with sick children eclipse 15-minute curial speech

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Every so often a day rolls around that seems to perfectly sum up the arc of a story, and Saturday, Dec. 21, felt like one of those days in Pope Francis' ongoing reform campaign.

To set the scene, Francis had two big appointments on his calendar Dec. 21: the pope's annual year-end address to the Roman Curia and a visit to Rome's Bambino Gesù Hospital, which specializes in the care of sick children.

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October 10-23, 2014

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