Pope Francis celebrated his 82nd birthday by hosting a party for sick children from the Santa Marta Paediatric Dispensary.
The celebration, which took place inside Paul VI hall in the Vatican on 16 December a day before Francis' birthday, included singing and a surprise birthday cake.
“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,” the Pope said, addressing the children's parents and medical staff present. “And, also, I hope that there is no indigestion with that cake so big!”
A sign hung on the table holding the Pope’s cake read: “We cannot get used to the situations of degradation and misery that surround us. A Christian must react.”
Francis said that if the Holy Family had been living in Rome and the Baby Jesus had a cold, Mary would have surely brought him to the dispensary to be treated.
Pope Francis thanked the doctors, nurses and volunteers of the clinic, as well as the “collaboration of the kids, and of the Dads and Mums of the children.”
He described the clinic as a body: “and there is life in the body. It is seen in the spontaneity of the children.”
All those who help the children at the dispensary give so much to the children, he said. They also give us a second message to humble ourselves, the Pontiff continued, for it is here he said that we learn about life and about people.
"Get down, be humble, and you will learn to understand life and understand people," he said.
The Santa Marta Dispensary, which became a foundation in 2008, is supported by the Pope, the Secretariat of State and the Vatican City State Governorate along with benefactors and friends.
This was the third time the Pope has celebrated his birthday with the families of the Santa Marta Dispensary.