Children who frequent a Vatican children's pharmacy yesterday gave Pope Francis a birthday cake, ahead of his birthday today. Source: Time Magazine.
Francis, now 82, joked with the children, saying he hoped “such a big cake doesn’t give indigestion” and blew out a candle atop the treat decorated in the Vatican’s yellow-and-white official colours.
He said children are good at teaching grown-ups to be humble, to better understand life and people.
Francis said: “The proud, the arrogant, can’t understand life because they’re incapable of lowering themselves.”
As if to make his point, Francis declined to sit on an upholstered chair, opting to perch on the Vatican auditorium’s stage steps.
The charity pharmacy, with the help of doctors, nurses and other volunteers, assists some 400 children, many of them from immigrant families, and their mothers.
Vatican News reports the Santa Marta Dispensary has provided medical assistance to children and families in need for more than 90 years and is based just a stone’s throw away from the Pope’s residence inside the Vatican.
The Dispensary was established in 1922 by Pope Pius XI, and was visited by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2005. In the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican yesterday, Pope Francis was greeted by 800 people, including volunteers, doctors, nurses and families assisted by the pharmacy.
In words of thanks to those gathered, the Pope said that if Our Lady had lived in Rome she would have taken Jesus to this dispensary.
Children at Vatican Charity Give Pope Francis an Early Birthday Cake ( Time Magazine)
Pope's Christmas greetings to Santa Marta Dispensary (Vatican News)