A sign of good wishes to Pope Francis could not be lacking during the General Audience, though a few days ahead of time, for his 80th birthday, which he will celebrate on Saturday, December 17. Amid the affectionate applause of the faithful, the shaking of hands and embraces in Paul VI Hall, a lady gave the Pontiff a cake with two lighted candles in the shape of an “8” and a “0.”
Francis paused for a moment and then blew them out. Then, joking about the good wishes received ahead of time, he said: “Thank you all for the good wishes for my forthcoming birthday, thank you. But I will tell something that will make you laugh: in my land, to express good wishes ahead of time brings bad luck! And one who expresses good wishes ahead of time is one who “casts the evil eye.”
As communicated yesterday by the Holy See Press Office, anyone who wishes to send good wishes to the Pontiff can do so through e-mail at the following addresses:
Papafranciscus80@vatican.va (Latin); PapaFrancesco80@vatican.va (Italian); PapaFrancisco80@vatican.va (Spanish/Portuguese); PopeFrancis80@vatican.va (English); PapeFrancois (French); PapstFranziskus80@vatican.va (German); PapiezFranciszek80@vatican.va (Polish).
Created on social media for the occasion is the hashtag Pontifex80.