Pope Francis celebrates 78th birthday, be greeted by the public

Vatican City, Dec 17:  Pope Francis turned 78 on Wednesday and although there was no planned celebration, he will receive congratulations from the public gathered at the weekly general audience held in St. Peter's Square.

The pontiff has not arranged any official festivity to mark the occasion, but he has received "Happy Birthday" messages from around the world.

Francis was born in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires Dec 17, 1936.

Pope Francis celebrates 78th birthday

Those who will be attending Wednesday's general audience have prepared congratulatory banners and brought gifts to hand him while he takes his usual tour through the crowd by car.

Italian tango dancer Crisitina Camorani has organised a flash mob in St. Peter's Square by initiating the event on Facebook, joined by around 2,000 people.

"We have gotten all of the permits and we will dance a milonga with the official permission of the city of Rome and the Vatican gendarmerie!" Camorani posted on the Facebook page that promotes the event under the motto of "A Tango for Francis".

The pontiff is expected, like last year, to invite the poor to lunch on his birthday.

Francis spent his first birthday as pope with four homeless people and he invited them afterwards to the general audience and then lunch.


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