Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the place where his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, created the world's first Nativity scene in Greccio. The pope used a free day.
A Roman Observer: The Year of Our Lord, 2016, is off to a sluggish start at the Vatican -- according to certain reports.
Pope Francis erected a new Syro-Malankara eparchy for the United States and Canada. The pope also named Bishop Thomas Eusebios Naickamparambil as its first bishop.
Over 3.2 million pilgrims visited the Vatican in 2015 and attended papal events, liturgies or prayer services, the Vatican said. The statistics were compiled by Prefecture of the Papal Household.
NCR Today: Pope Francis called on Christians to take time during the continuing Christmas season to contemplate the mystery of the child Jesus.
Pope Francis asked for prayers and action concerning the plight of Cuban migrants, a rebel attack in the Philippines, and a deadly gas explosion in Nigeria.
"Only God's mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst," the pope said Dec. 25.