Pope Francis shares food to the homeless during his 80th birthday.
Pope Francis celebrated his 80th birthday on Saturday, eating breakfast with eight homeless people at the Vatican before celebrating Mass with cardinals.
This comes as greetings flowed in from officials around the world for the highest official of the Catholic Church.
According to the Vatican, the pope had an individual chat with each of the homeless guests at the Vatican hotel where he resides.
The guests include four Italians, two Romanians, a Moldovan and a Peruvian.
These individuals were invited from among those staying around St. Peter’s Square and at nearby showers for the homeless established by the pope’s almsgiver.
Pope Francis even shared Argentinian cakes with them before heading to Mass.
The guests offered the pope a bouquet of sunflowers.
Speaking to the cardinals after his breakfast, Pope Francis contemplated the aging process, telling them, “For some days now, I have had in mind a word that seems ugly: Old age, a thought that frightens.” But then he recalled his words during his first papal greeting in 2013, when he said: “Old age is the thirst for knowledge.”
He added: “I hope it will be the same for me.”
Because Saturday is a working day in the Vatican, Francis kept up his usual duties.
Among his schedules was the meeting with Malta’s president and holding an audience with members of Nomadelfia community, a secular group whose lifestyle emulates early Christians, who sang “Happy Birthday.”
As the Pope celebrates his 80th birthday, greetings arrived from all parts of the globe in the form of both personal messages and tweets with the hashtag #Pontifex80.
In his message, outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama said Francis “has inspired people around the world with his message of compassion, hope and peace.”
Italian President Sergio Mattarella, on the other hand, recalled that the pope has called on Europeans to show solidarity with the less fortunate, in particular migrants and all those who live at society’s margins.
In the Philippines, Malacañang Palace wished for good health and good humor for Pope Francis.
In a statement released Saturday, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said , “We wish Pope Francis good health and good humor as he continues to guide us to build a more humane world.”
“For more than three years as head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis has successfully inspired people around the world with his humble example, concern for the poor, and strong attention on God’s mercy.”
He added that Filipinos remain thankful for the pope’s visit to the country in January2015, especially when the pontiff met with thousands of typhoon “Yolanda” survivors.
“His touching homily in Tacloban has left an indelible memory in the hearts of thousands, especially survivors of typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan,” Andanar said.