Pope Francis on Sunday joined a belated celebration of his 85th birthday, thrown by the children and families helped by the Vatican’s charitable pediatric clinic.
During the Dec. 19 party, Pope Francis was entertained by songs and skits from the kids, and everyone was treated to a piece of a giant birthday cake.
Pope Francis turned 85 years old on Dec. 17.
For almost 100 years, the Santa Marta Pediatric Dispensary has been providing free medical care to children from all over the world.
The annual event with Pope Francis was skipped last year due to the pandemic, but the 2021 party included a new attraction: A Christmas Village complete with Santa Claus and elves.
The Christmas Village was set up inside and outside the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. Children were able to have their photo taken with Santa Claus and each got a Christmas box filled with pizza, muffins, and chocolate.
During the visit, Pope Francis greeted the kids and spoke to them about what it means to love other people.
“Love for others means that we must look at and listen to the people’s needs,” he said. “There are always people who need us, but if we don’t look them in the face we will never understand…”
“If I go down the street and I see that someone is cold and hungry, even if he is bad, I help him,” the pope said. “Always help each other. Today we are all here because we are friends.”
Pope Francis was surrounded by red balloons and the Happy Birthday song was playing in Spanish when he was presented with a large box containing a birthday cake.