· Vatican City ·

‘Best wishes’

22 December 2023

Among the many messages of good wishes sent to Pope Francis for his birthday, there was one that was particularly significant: that of the children of the Latin parish of the Holy Family in Gaza, the only Catholic parish in the Gaza Strip. The parish was attacked by militants, causing two deaths and several injuries.

In a video released by “Sir” news agency, the Palestinian children sang Happy Birthday to Pope Francis in English and in Arabic. Some of the children greeted him individually, and thanked him for his support.

Greetings from Italy

Mr Sergio Mattarella, the President of Italy, also sent best wishes to the Pope for his 87th birthday on his behalf and on behalf of the Italian people. The message offered “most sincere and affectionate wishes for well-being and for the fruitful continuation of your prolific magisterium”.

From the Italian Episcopal Conference

The Italian Bishop’s Conference took the opportunity to pray for peace in our war-torn world.

“We believe this would be the best gift for our Churches”, said the Bishops. “Together with you, we want to be artisans of peace to overcome a culture of war, hatred, ignorance, and prejudice”.