Pope Francis Turns 80

Pope Francis will celebrate his 80th birthday on December 17th.

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 1936 in Argentina, he has spent the majority of his life serving in the Catholic Church before being named the 266th Pope in 2013. In doing so, he became the first Latin American and Jesuit Pope.

He has often made headlines with his viewpoints on topics such as gay marriage and the environment. He has tried to break away from some church traditions and move towards more progressive viewpoints. As he has said, “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”

A birthday celebration for him was held this week, which featured a globe cake adorned with olive branches, which symbolizes how he strives for global peace and for better care of the environment.

Those interested can also send him a birthday message. The Vatican created seven email addresses for seven different languages. You can find them here:  http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/12/13/wish_pope_francis_happy_birthday_by_email/1278745

A hashtag has also been created to use on social media, #Pontifex80.