(Vatican City) — Tens of thousands of people are celebrating the 81st birthday of Pope Francis. A huge crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday to sing “Happy Birthday” to the pontiff. Francis is the first Latin American pope and was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He became the leader of one-point-two-billion Roman Catholics in 2013. During his weekly message and blessing, the Pope asked for the release of six Catholic nuns kidnapped last month in Nigeria.
The Pope also appealed for people to keep the meaning of Christmas close, saying, “This is the real Christmas. If we remove Jesus, what is left? An empty feast.”
Steve Stout /mc
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