To celebrate his birthday, Pope Francis was treated to a song and dance performed by a group of children receiving assistance from the Vatican’s St Martha Dispensary, which is a maternal and pediatric clinic. The singing and dancing was followed by a birthday cake beautifully decorated in gold and white.
The highlight of Pope Francis’ birthday celebration was a four-metre pizza with a single candle on top of it. In receiving the pizza, Pope Francis invited some of the children from St Martha Dispensary to join him as he blew out the candle.
“Eat the four-metre pizza. Eat well, it will do you good and make you grow,” Pope Francis told the children.
The Pope went on to say that the children’s joy was a gift and likened their vitality and elation to “good earth that makes life grow with good fruits.”
“Do not make children sad. When children see that there are problems at home, that their parents are fighting, they suffer. They must always grow with joy,” he added.
Following the celebration with the children of St Martha Dispensary, Pope Francis greeted as many as 25,000 pilgrims in St Peter’s Square for his Sunday Angelus address. Following the recitation of the Angelus prayer, the gathered crowd serenaded Pope Francis by singing “Happy Birthday”.
After thanking the crowd for their touching gesture, Pope Francis spoke of celebrating the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. He reminded all Christians to prepare from the coming of Jesus Christ with “constant joy, persevering prayer and continual thanksgiving.”
“Joy, prayer and gratitude are the three attitudes that prepare us to live Christmas in an authentic way,” Pope Francis reminded the crowd. He then asked all those who had gathered in St Peter’s Square to join him in repeating the words: “joy, prayer and gratitude.”
With joy in our hearts, we celebrate the season of the Advent and wish Pope Francis a happy 81st birthday.