Pope Francis celebrates his 87th birthday on Sunday. In the morning he met with children, patients of the Vatican clinic of Saint Martha. He gave them gifts and together they blew out the candle from the Pope’s birthday cake.
There was cake, snacks, fun, dancing, songs and gifts – yes Pope Francis he spent his 87th birthday on Sunday morning with children, patients of the Vatican clinic of Saint Martha, which helps poor and needy families. Christmas gifts were given to the youngest children. It’s a tradition. The Pope hands out gifts on his birthday.
Francis introduced the custom of such meetings in December 2013, i.e. in the first year of his pontificate. Last year, refugee families from… Ukraine.
The birthday party in the Paul VI Hall was attended by children from 200 families who receive help at the Vatican clinic, which has been operating for over a century. It is staffed by volunteer doctors. The work of the clinic is managed by Sister Anna Luisa Rizzello and the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Ministry of Mercy, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.
The children sang for the Pope and gave him a bouquet of sunflowers
Children from the Vatican pediatric clinic sang for the Pope and presented him with a bouquet of sunflowers. Together they also blew out the candle from the Pope’s birthday cake. Later, during a traditional Christmas event during his weekly address in St. Peter’s Square, he blessed tiny figurines of Baby Jesus held by children who placed them in their home nativity scenes.
Dozens of children in the square shouted “Buon Compleanno,” which means “Happy Birthday” in Italian, and held signs with the same greeting.
Prime Minister Italian Giorgia Meloni sent greetings to the Pope and thanked him for his “deep commitment to peace.” “On his birthday, I would like to express my warmest wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis. Thank you for his sublime teaching on the leadership of the Church and for his commitment to peace,” she wrote on the X website.
Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio to Italian immigrants on December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires. On March 13, 2013, the cardinals elected him as the first Latin American pope.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/VATICAN MEDIA HANDOUT