Happy 80th Birthday, Pope Francis!

On Saturday, December 17th, Pope Francis will celebrate his 80th birthday. According to the Vatican, Pope Francis plans to spend the day working “just as normal’ attending meetings and holding mass.

What better way to celebrate Pope Francis and his life than to highlight some of his most beautiful lessons. Many of the images below were taken in the different countries where we serve, including Kenya, Zambia, Peru, South Sudan and Haiti.

 1. Hold on to Hope

The Pope went on to say, “When we are in darkness and difficulty the smile doesn’t come, but there is the hope that teaches us to smile on that path to find God…Let us also smile even if it was a difficult day, because we see the hope.”

2. Let go of fear

3. Be Happy with Enough

The Pope urges us not to be dominated by material things:

“In this season of Advent, we are called to enlarge the horizons of our hearts, to be surprised by the life which is presented each day with its novelty. In order to do this we need to learn to not depend on our own securities, our own consolidated plans, because the Lord comes in the hour which we don’t imagine. This introduces us to a much more beautiful, and great, dimension.”

“Make a choice: sufficient money like that of an honest worker, sufficient savings like those of an honest worker,” he said. “But all these financial interests are not permissible; this is idolatry.”

4. Work for peace

As a staunch proponent for peace, the Pope has said, “We are living in a time of many wars,” and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive.”

“Everyone can be an artisan of peace.”

5. Keep your Family Close

6. Appreciate the Beauty Around you

Pope Francis is known for his promotion of the arts. He highlights their role as key to brightening the world: “Architects and painters, sculptors and musicians, filmmakers and writers, photographers and poets, artists of every discipline, are called to shine beauty especially where darkness or gray dominates everyday life.”

7. Have Faith

The Pope teaches: “Let us not make faith an abstract theory where doubts multiply. Rather, let us make faith our life. Let us try to practice it in the service of our brothers, especially the neediest.”

“The most profound teaching we are called to transmit and the surest certainty out of doubt, is the love of God with which we are called to love,” he said. “A great love, free and given forever, from which we need to feel a strong responsibility to be witnesses offering mercy to our brothers.”

8.  Small Gestures Matter


The Pope has clearly stated how huge seemingly little acts of kindness can be: “Today we need a revolution of tenderness in this world…”

9. Love One Another

The Pope reminds us that, “almost everything in this world is passing away, like running water. But there are treasured realities that remain, like a precious stone in a sieve. What endures, what has value in life, what riches do not disappear? Surely these two: the Lord and our neighbor. These are the greatest goods; these are to be loved. Everything else – the heavens, the earth, all that is most beautiful, even this Basilica – will pass away; but we must never exclude God or others from our lives.”

10. Honor the Elderly and the Process of Aging


While many of us think of old age as an ending, the Pope clearly thinks of it as a new chapter–especially for those of us who are blessed to have grandchildren:

“Old age, in particular, is a time of grace, in which the Lord will renew his call: calls us to preserve and transmit the faith, calls us to pray, especially to intercede; calls us to be close to those who maybe in need. The elderly – grandparents [especially] – have a capacity to understand the most difficult situations: a great ability – and when they pray for these situations, their prayer is strong. It is powerful.”

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Be sure to send His Holiness a Happy Birthday email: PopeFrancis80@vatican.va