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Pope Francis Celebrates Birthday with Children from Santa Marta

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Pope Francis marked his birthday in his customary fashion, spending moments with children and families assisted by the Santa Marta Dispensary, an institution that has provided medical aid to those in need for over 90 years. Located near the Pope's residence inside the Vatican and established in 1922 by Pope Pius XI, the dispensary holds a special place in the Pope's heart.

Photo credit: Lan Gao

Photo credit: Lan Gao

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
12/19/2023 (7 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Pope Francis, birthday celebration, Santa Marta Dispensary, Christmas preparation, Vatican, Sergio Mattarella

During the celebration, the children and families presented Pope Francis with a birthday cake and serenaded him with a heartfelt rendition of 'Happy Birthday.' In response, the Pope expressed gratitude for the warm wishes and used the occasion to encourage everyone to prepare their hearts for the upcoming Christmas festivities.

As Christians worldwide anticipate the celebration of Jesus' birth, Pope Francis emphasized the significance of preparing for the great feast. He reflected on the meaning of Christmas, noting, "It is the feast when we think and recall when Jesus came among us. He came to be with us." The Pope invited those gathered in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall to close their eyes and contemplate the special grace they would like to ask Jesus for this Christmas.

In his closing remarks, Pope Francis extended his Christmas greetings, wishing joy and fulfillment to all. "Merry Christmas to you all," he said, encouraging everyone to maintain joyful smiles and expressing hope that the Lord would grant their heartfelt desires.

On the Pope's birthday, the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, conveyed his sincere and affectionate wishes for the Pope's well-being and the continued success of his prolific magisterium. Additionally, the Italian Bishop's Conference took the opportunity to join in prayer for peace in a world marked by conflict. They expressed a collective desire to be "artisans of peace" alongside the Pope, working to overcome a culture of war, hatred, ignorance, and prejudice. As the Pope celebrated another year of life, the well-wishes and prayers echoed the universal hope for peace and goodwill.

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