Pope Francis turned 77 today and celebrated Mass in the Santa Marta guesthouse with three homeless men, his closest collaborators and staff from the Santa Marta guesthouse, who afterwards greeted him with a birthday song and joined him for breakfast.
Those present at his morning Mass included Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, together with staff from the guesthouse. The congregation also included the Almoner Monsignor Konrad Krajewski who brought with him three homeless men and a dog.
The archbishop invited the first group of men he met early that morning, sleeping under the large portico in front of the Vatican press hall on the main boulevard in front of St Peter’s Square, according to the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
‘Would you like to come to Pope Francis’ birthday party?’ he asked them, the paper reported. The men, in their 40s, were from Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic. They loaded all their belongings into the archbishop’s car; the dog rode in the middle.
When they got to the residence, they waited for the Mass to end, then greeted the Pope. Together with Krajewski, they gave the pope a bouquet of sunflowers because they always turn toward the sun like the church turns toward its sun, Christ, the archbishop said.
The Pope invited the men to have breakfast with him in the residence dining room, where they talked and shared a few laughs.
Today’s reading was centered on the genealogy of Jesus and the Pope used this in his homily to reflect on God’s enduring presence in our lives throughout history. He said “God wished to live out his life alongside us” and “took his surname from each of us.”
“God,” the Pope continued, “has always walked alongside his people,” beginning with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He did not want to come to redeem us without coming to live among us and share our lives. The Pope said this long list of God’s people included “saints and sinners.” The latter included “high level sinners who committed serious sins and who didn’t listen” to God’s plans for them.
Pope Francis said in addition to accompanying us in our lives our God follows us and in this way, he displays His humility, His patience and His love for us. He concluded his homily with “a Christmas wish” for all of us “to allow God to write our lives for us.”
From Independent Catholic News