You won't believe what Catholic leader did for his 81st birthday
The pontiff celebrated his birthday by having fun at the Vatican.
Instead of simply having a cake as most people do, the Pontiff hosted a pizza party for children in the Vatican city.
Still, he observed the make a wish tradition by having a candle on his extra-long pizza(13 feet).
He blew this with some help from the kids, who are receiving medical care from the Vatican’s Pediatric Dispensary of Santa Marta.
Afterwards, Pope Francis jokingly encouraged the children to enjoy the massive pizza.
He said, “Eat the four meters [13 feet] of pizza: eat well, it will do you good, it will make you grow!”
As usual, the Pontiff had some words of advice and encouragement for the kids saying: “The joy of children is a treasure. And we ought to do everything so that they continue to be joyous. A joyous spirit is like a good land that grows life well, with good fruit.”
Moving on to Grandparents, Pope Francis noted that they “have memory, have roots, and it will be the grandparents that give roots to the children.”
Continuing, he asked that the children may not be “uprooted children, without the memory of a people, without the memory of the faith, without the memory of so many beautiful things that have made up history, without the memory of values.”
“And who will help children to do this? The grandparents,” said the Pope, adding that the elderly “love us very much.”
Pope Francis concluded by advising parents to “teach them to talk with God.”
“May they learn to pray, to say what they feel in their heart. It is joy, to talk with the grandparents, with the elderly, and to talk with God.”
He still got a cake
NBC News reports that he still got a cake. Roman pastry Hedera Sweetness and Co. offered a beautifully decorated cake in honour of his birthday.
It featured a drawing of the Pope by Italian street artist Mauro Pallotta a.k.a Maupal.
Another thing the Pontiff got was thousands of children shouting birthday wishes from St. Peter’s Square. They also sang “Happy Birthday” in Italian.
Pope Francis responded from his window overlooking the square saying: “Thanks a lot, thanks a lot.”
The kids were at the Vatican for the pope’s weekly Angelus prayer and for their tiny figurines of the baby Jesus to be blessed by the pope.
According to Reuters, this is a long-standing Italian custom. It was started by the late Pope John Paul II. After they are blessed, the statues are placed in home nativity scenes.
This is not the first time the Pope has gone public with his love for pizza
In 2015, he made an observation about being a pope. According to him, the one thing he didn't like about his position was the fact that he could no longer go out unnoticed for pizza.
In his words, “The one thing that I would like is to go out, without anyone recognizing me, and go to a pizzeria to eat pizza.”
That same year, he was given a pizza by pizzeria owner Enzo Cacialli who had to make delivery straight to the Pope’s motorcade.
Afterwards, he told CNN that “It’s really hard for me to understand what I managed to do. Giving a pizza you made with your own hands to the Pope is very emotional.
“It’s really hard for me to express the value of this gesture for a man we really love and value, for a beautiful person full of humanity.”
Other Pontiff news
Meanwhile, Pope Francis’s twitter account just turned five years old. This happened on December 12, 2017.
It was acknowledged by the pontiff with a sweet post.
The @Pontifex account was opened by Pope Benedict on Dec. 12, 2012.
Now, Pope Francis is followed by 40 million people in nine languages.
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