Today, Dec. 17, Pope Francis celebrates his 77th birthday. All who wish to congratulate him are invited to do so online at: https://www.facebook.com/news.va.en
The pope started his day by celebrating Mass in the Santa Marta chapel with the staff of the guesthouse in a “family” environment. The day’s Gospel (Matt 1:1-17), rich in the names of Jesus’ ancestors, offered him an opportunity to mention the names of several of the staff present during his homily.
Attendees also included Cardinal Angelo Sodano, representing the College of Cardinals; Archbishop Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Secretariat of State; and the Almoner of His Holiness, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who was accompanied by four homeless people from the area near the Vatican. The Holy Father then invited all of them for breakfast in the Domus Santa Maria refectory.
In other celebrations, Pope Francis will receive a visit from the soccer team San Lorenzo de Buenos Aires, which he supports, who will bring the Cup of the Inicial Championship, which they won Dec. 15. In San Lorenzo Parish in Piscibus–close to the Vatican–young people will offer 24 hours of eucharistic adoration in homage to Pope Francis. On Dec. 20, the Roman Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs will offer a concert in his honor that will include the “Misa Criolla” by Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez, one of the pope’s favorites.
In his native Buenos Aires, citizens will honor their former archbishop by setting up a missionary tent in the diaconate of Boca-Barrajas, one of the most troubled areas of the city. The tent will welcome the “invisible” inhabitants of the capital—migrants, unemployed, homeless and prostitutes—where every year then Archbishop Bergoglio used to celebrate Mass for the victims of human trafficking.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires on Dec. 17, 1936, the son of Italian immigrants: father Mario, an accountant employed by the railways and mother Regina Sivori, wife and mother dedicated to raising the couple’s five children.