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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis turns 82 on Dec. 17


When he was elected as Pope to the Holy See he was 76 years old. On Monday, Dec. 17 he will turn 82. Although he said his pontificate would not be very long, in March he will finish his sixth year and is still going at full speed. 

He only canceled meetings for health reasons in his first two years as pontiff. This could have been because he was adapting to his new lifestyle. 

“The Holy Father, due to a last-minute indisposition, will be unable to make the scheduled visit to Gemelli Hospital.”

After those first two years, there have not been many other instances. As he continues in the papacy, he seems to be going forward without problems. During his pontificate he has visited 38 countries in 25 trips abroad. Trips with long days and tight schedules. Some even featuring incidents like this one in Colombia.  

In any case, the incidents did not cause any serious trouble and in 2018 Pope Francis did not slow down. In addition to four trips abroad, he presided over a synod which lasted more than three weeks. 

Nonetheless, there was no lack of tough issues to face. Controversies like abuse in Chile and Pennsylvania or ex-nuncio Carlo Viganò's harsh criticism of the pope and the Curia.

Yet 2018 also brought him emotional moments like this one:

 “We offer them our warm welcome.” 

The pope's voice broke with emotion when he recalled that for the first time bishops from Mainland China would be present at the Synod on Youth.

Pope Francis will celebrate his birthday privately, without any special events. It falls on a Monday, a day on which no major ceremonies are scheduled. That is why it is expected that he will receive early birthday wishes from pilgims during Sunday's Angelus. Logically, the next day he will blow out the candles on a nice cake.