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Happy Birthday Pope Francis! Pontiff Turns 77

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POPE FRANCIS BALLOON
A faithful offers a white balloon to Pope Francis at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pope Francis is seventy-seven years old on December 17, 2013. The Pope started his birthday by inviting four homeless people to share in the morning mass at the Vatican. The popular pontiff has already received a birthday cake from the children at a Vatican dispensary which provides pediatric care. Over 10,000 young people have signed a birthday card for him as well.

That's not the only thing he has to celebrate, however, as on December 16 his beloved football team, Argentine soccer club San Lorenzo, won its first title since 2007. Members of the team will arrive in Rome on his birthday to deliver the trophy to the Pope, their biggest fan, who has been a card-carrying member of the club since 2008. When the pope heard the good news, he exclaimed, "What joy!" according to La Gazzetta.

“The fact that we could win the title and present it to the pope on his birthday seems like a gift from God,” Marcelo Tinelli, the club's vice-president, told the press at the airport. Reportedly, the soccer-loving pope asked Tinelli to win the championship when they met a few months ago, after he was elected.

In other birthday news, Pope Francis unexpectedly announced the canonization of Jesuit priest Pierre Favre, also known as Peter Favre. Though there is an established Vatican protocol for announcing new saints, Pope Francis elevated Favre through "equivalent canonization," which is usually done for widely recognized church figures who have perhaps partially gone through the sainthood process.

Happy birthday, Pope Francis!

In honor of his 77th year, we've compiled 77 of his best quotes and sayings:

Pope Francis Quotes
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