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“Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!”: How you can send the Holy Father birthday greetings on his 80th

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The Vatican is inviting you to wish Pope Francis a “Happy Birthday” with a special hashtag and email

VATICAN CITY — As Pope Francis prepares to celebrate his 80th birthday on Saturday, December 17, the Vatican is inviting you to join in the festivities by sending the pontiff birthday wishes. And they have created a special hashtag and email for the occasion.

According to an official Vatican statement released on December 13, social media users can send Pope Francis birthday greetings by taking to their accounts with the hashtag: #Pontifex80.

For those who wish to send the pope a note via email, they can write to him at the following email addresses:

Papafranciscus80@vatican.va (Latin)
PapaFrancesco80@vatican.va (Italian)
PapaFrancisco80@vatican.va (Spanish/Portuguese)
PopeFrancis80@vatican.va (English)
PapeFrancois80@vatican.va (French)
PapstFranziskus80@vatican.va (German)
PapiezFranciszek80@vatican.va (Polish)

The Pope’s birthday plans

How will Pope Francis celebrate his 80th birthday? He will begin the day as usual, with the celebration of Holy Mass. However, the pope will offer the holy sacrifice in the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, with all of the resident cardinals in Rome.

The rest of the day will be “normal,” the Vatican statement said. Following the usual rhythm of his day, the pope will meet with various heads of state and members of the Roman Curia. On Saturday, the pope is scheduled to meet with Marie Louise Coleiro Prec, President of the Republic of Malta; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Bishop Vitus Hounder of Chur, Switzerland; and the Nomadelfia community of Italy.

Birthday surprises

However, if past years are any indication, the pope may be in store for some surprises.

Last year, Pope Francis blew out 79 candles on a giant “biodynamic” lemon cake sporting the Year of Mercy logo and delivered to his Santa Marta residence.

“The low-calorie dessert, made from free-range eggs, Italian cream and Calabrian lemons, was the fruit of painstaking work by pastry chefs at Hedera, an ice cream shop nearby on Borgo Pio,” the media reported last year. “No doubt with the Pope’s environment encyclical Laudato Si in mind, the cake was the product of biodynamic agriculture, which is very similar to organic farming.”

The year before, in 2014, the Pope arrived at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square to shouts of “Happy Birthday” in various languages.

As he circled around the square greeting pilgrims, he stopped to blow out candles on another giant cake, this time given to him by a group of seminaries from the Legionaries of Christ. The first Latin American pope also paused to take a sip of mate tea, a traditional South American drink popular in Argentina.

At the Wednesday audience earlier this week, the pope enjoyed an advance “birthday party” complete with cake and candles and gifts. After the faithful and pilgrims sang him “Happy Birthday,” Pope Francis quipped that, where he is from, sending wishes in advance is a jinx.

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