“I’m happy to be with you,” the Pope said to the attendees. “I wish you a Merry Christmas, a good holy Christmas to all, and I thank you very much for what you do, really.”
The celebration, which took place inside Paul VI hall in the Vatican, included singing, music and a surprise birthday cake for the Pope. “… I also hope that there is no indigestion with that cake so big,” he joked.
A sign above the Pontiff’s birthday cake read, “We cannot get used to the situations of degradation and misery that surround us. A Christian must react.”
Pope Francis took some time to thank the doctors, nurses and volunteers of the clinic, as well as the “collaboration of the kids, and of the dads and the moms of the children.”
He described the clinic as a body: “and there is life in the body. It is seen in the spontaneity of the children.”
All those involved with the dispensary “give so much to the children,” he added, “but they give us this message, this teaching: get down, be humble, and you will learn to understand life and understand people.”
Santa Marta Dispensary is supported by the Pope, the Secretariat of State, the Vatican City State Governorate, and benefactors and friends.
This was the Pope’s third time visiting the children and families of the Santa Marta Dispensary on his birthday.