VATICAN – Pope Francis is celebrating his 83rd birthday as good wishes and prayers pour in from all over the world.
Pope Francis whose real name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born on December 17, 1936. Greetings have been arriving from around the world this 17th December as the Pope celebrates his 83rd birthday.
Pope Francis on Tuesday is marking his 83rd Birthday. It was only last Friday that the Pope celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
On the occasion of his birthday, the Pope has been receiving messages of congratulations from all over the world.
In a greeting to Pope Francis, the President of Italy, Sergio Matterella said he was particularly pleased to send the “most sincere and affectionate wishes” on this 83rd Birthday.
In his message, the President said the Pope’s incessant pastoral activity was “the crowning achievement of fifty years of generous priestly service”. He added that the Pontiff’s voice was one that “continues to urge peoples and nations to overcome divisions, to preserve peace, to engage in dialogue…”
Pope is the head of the Catholic Church and the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pope Francis was ordained a Catholic priest in 1969, and from 1973 to 1979 was Argentina’s provincial superior of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
He became the archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was created a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.
He led the Argentine Church during the December 2001 riots in Argentina. The administrations of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner considered him a political rival.
Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on 13 March.
He chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Throughout his public life, Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God’s mercy, international visibility as pope, concern for the poor and commitment to interfaith dialogue.
He is credited with having a less formal approach to the papacy than his predecessors, for instance choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace used by previous popes.