It’s Pope Francis’s 80th birthday. The Pope celebrates his special day by sharing breakfast with eight homeless people and performing mass with cardinals, as greetings pour in from around the world. According to the Vatican, the Pope chatted early on Saturday with each of the homeless guests — four Italians, two Romanians, a Moldovan and a Peruvian — and shares Argentinian cakes with them before heading to mass. The guests gave the pontiff a bouquet of sunflowers, while he sent enough birthday cakes for 1,500 people to kitchens serving the poor and homeless in Rome, reports ABC News.
— Greg Burke (@GregBurkeRome) December 17, 2016
Although it is his birthday, Saturday is a working day at the Vatican and Pope Francis is keeping up his usual pace, meeting with Malta’s President and holding an audience with members of the Nomadelfia community, a secular group whose lifestyle emulates early Christians.
— Aleteia (@AleteiaEN) December 16, 2016
The Pope has received more than 70,000 email messages wishing him a happy birthday, as well as telephone calls and telegrams from world leaders and religious figures and tweets via the hashtag #Pontifex80.
Greetings pour in from around the world…
— Vice President PH (@VPPilipinas) December 17, 2016
— Eamon Martin (@ArchbishopEamon) December 17, 2016
— Antonio Spadaro (@antoniospadaro) December 17, 2016
His predecessor, 89-year-old Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, sent a “very affectionate” written greeting that the Vatican said was “particularly appreciated”.