We all look forward to our birthdays every year—the birthday cakes, the greetings, singing “Happy Birthday”, and our loved ones surrounding us on our special day. We dream of receiving lots of gifts from those who attend your celebration, but we often forget that the greatest gift is the gift of another year.
Turning a year older is always a blessing, and Pope Francis has been blessed over 80 times in his lifetime. As he turns 83 today, we look back on how he has celebrated his birthdays since he became Pope.
Also Read: Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!
2013: Breakfast at the Vatican
During his first birthday as Pope, Lolo Kiko celebrated his birthday with four homeless people and one of their dogs who lived in the streets of Rome near the Vatican. His guests attended the Pope’s mass before eating breakfast with him at the Dining Room of the Vatican City.
2014: Mass Tango
The Santo Papa decided to celebrate his 78th birthday by parading through St. Peter’s Square for his general audience. He was welcomed with “Happy Birthday” songs in different languages and a mass tango—as tango originated from Argentina and the Pope himself loves the dance! Pope Francis was also given cakes by Argentine priests and a birthday drawing from an Italian boy.
2015: Celebration with the Youth
For his 79th birthday celebration, Lolo Kiko met with young members of Azione Cattolica—a group that shares the Gospel to their community and in education—and was presented a cake. He also blessed the members and offered prayers for the success of their project on working for migrants.
Also Read: The Bergoglio Family Kitchen
2016: A Day of Giving
Just like in 2013, Pope Francis again celebrated with homeless people from around St. Peter’s Square and the showers for the homeless. The Pope’s guests gifted him sunflowers. Pope Francis shared some of his birthday cakes—enough to feed 1,500—to kitchens who feed the homeless and the poor.
2017 and 2018: For the Little Ones
For two consecutive years, Lolo Kiko has celebrated his birthday with children from the Santa Marta Pediatric Dispensary. He hosted small parties for the children and the children surprised him with cake. The Pope also prayed the Angelus with people at St. Peter’s Square, and blessed images of Baby Jesus that will be displayed all over the city.