For his 82nd birthday, Pope Francis celebrated by hosting a party and eating cake with sick children under the care of a Vatican free health clinic.
The celebration took place inside the Paul VI hall before Pope Francis was slated to give his Sunday Angelus. Pope Francis was joined by their families, and spent an hour with them in an event that included dessert, singing, and music for the children receiving care at the Santa Marta Pediatric Dispensary.
“I’m happy to be with you. I wish you a Merry Christmas, a good holy Christmas to all, and I thank you very much for what you do, really. And, also, I hope that there is no indigestion with that cake so big!”
The cake was given to Pope Francis by the children at the clinic, with a sign that read: “We cannot get used to the situations of degradation and misery that surround us. A Christian must react.”
The Santa Marta Dispensary, established in 1922 by Pope Pius XI, has provided free medical assistance to children and families in need for over 90 years. Pope Francis thanked the volunteers, doctors, nurses, and those working at there, saying he believed if the Holy Family lived in Rome and Baby Jesus was sick Mary would surely take Him there for treatment.
“Working with children is not easy, but it teaches us a lot. It teaches me one thing: that in order to understand the reality of life, you have to lower yourself, as we lower ourselves to kiss a child. They teach us this. The proud, the proud cannot understand life, because they are not able to lower themselves.”
This isn’t the first time the Holy Father has celebrated his birthday with the children receiving care at the Santa Marta Dispensary: last year, he hosted a party featuring a pizza over 13 feet long!