Pope Francis Celebrates Birthday With Homeless Men


Thousands of goodwill messages have poured in to the Vatican for Pope Francis, who has turned 77.

But no special celebrations were planned for the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, with Tuesday expected to be a normal working day for him.

The pope celebrated his daily mass in the Santa Marta chapel at 7am local time, and was preparing his speech for his weekly audience, scheduled for Wednesday.

Francis, the Time Magazine man of the year was given a surprise party at the weekend, when he met a group of children at a charity office inside the Vatican.

They each sported a letter of the alphabet on their shirt, and lined up to spell out the message Happy Birthday, Pope Francis. There was also a cake, with candles.

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Four homeless people, one of them carrying his dog, also joined Pope Francis in celebrating his 77th birthday at the Vatican on Tuesday.

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They live on the street in the Rome neighborhood just outside the Vatican’s walls and were invited by the Holy See official in charge of alms-giving to attend the morning Mass, which Francis celebrates daily at the hotel where he lives on Vatican City grounds.

The Vatican said Francis also invited his household help to join him in a “family-like” atmosphere, and he spoke of them one by one during his homily.