Celebrating the Holy Father’s birthday

Francis’ special embrace

 Francis’ special embrace   ING-051
22 December 2023

On his birthday, Sunday 17 December, Pope Francis met the community of the Santa Marta Paediatric Dispensary Foundation, in the Paul vi Hall, on the occasion of the upcoming Christmas celebration. Joyfully welcoming the Pontiff were the many children cared for by this charitable organisation that has been present in the Vatican for 101 years, voluntarily assisting poor families. Francis also blew out the candle on a cake presented to him by the children. At the beginning of the encounter, Karol, a young mother from Peru, spoke about her experience in the community, together with her three children (Maemi and Luis, 10 years old, and Giosué, 8 years old) who introduced themselves, in simplicity, to Francis. Then the artists of the Rony Roller circus entertained the children. Animated by volunteers from the Dispensary and Athletica Vaticana, the festive moment ended just before the Angelus, with a big hug between the Pope and the little guests. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s words.

Good morning to you all! And thank you very much for being able to come, so many girls, boys, all of you here! Thank you very much.

We must prepare ourselves for a great feast, which will be next week, Christmas: the feast in which we all think about and remember when Jesus came, he came to be with us. Let us think, let us prepare our heart for Christmas, to receive Jesus.

Each one of you, think: what will I ask Jesus? What will I ask of Jesus this Christmas? Now each one of you think: what will I ask of Jesus? In silence, with your eyes closed, and think: what will I ask of Jesus?

Have you already thought about it? Good. Now ask him. And I wish you a happy Christmas, a happy Christmas to all of you! Always with a smile, and may the Lord give you everything you want. Thank you!