Pope Francis has turned 81 years old Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017. He chose to celebrate his birthday on Sunday morning by meeting with a group of children being treated by the Pediatric Dispensary of Santa Marta in the Vatican.
During the festivities, the Holy Father held a baby, enjoyed pizza, and was given a special cake.
In the Pope’s impromptu greeting to the volunteers, parents and all the children present, he stressed that Children’s joy is a treasure.
‘We must do everything we can so that they continue to be joyful, because joy is like good soil. A joyful soul is like good soil, which makes life grow well, bearing good fruit.”
Telling those present to listen well, Pope Francis said the first priority is preserving children’s joy.
“Don’t sadden children. When children see that there are problems at home, that the parents quarrel, they suffer. Don’t sadden the children. They must always grow with joy.”
The second thing you must do for children to grow well, the Pope said, make them talk with the grandparents: “the two extremes of life, because the grandparents have memory, have roots, and it will be the grandparents that give roots to the children.
“Please, do not let them become ‘uprooted’ children, without the memory of a people, without the memory of the faith, without the memory of so many beautiful things that have made history, without the memory of values. And who will help children to do this? The grandparents. They must talk with the grandparents, with the elderly.”
He also reminded the children how important it is to speak to their grandparents, the elderly, and God.
The third piece of advice The Pope gave to those present: “teach them to talk with God.”
May they learn to pray, to say what they feel in their heart.
“It’s joy, to talk with the grandparents, with the elderly, and to talk with God. Agreed? Do all agree?”
On his birthday, Francis wished the children a good day, with much celebration.
“And eat the four meters of pizza: eat them well, which will do you good — it’ll make you grow. And go ahead! Thank you, thank you!”
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On Zenit’s Web page:
Pope’s Remarks: https://zenit.org/
articles/popes-greeting-to- children-assisted-by-santa- martas-pediatric-dispensary/