Pope Francis celebrated his 86th birthday by honoring three persons who labor in the community, including a homeless man who distributes some of the alms he receives to other people living on the streets.
The three received the Mother Teresa Prize from the pope in appreciation of their many acts of compassion. The nun, who passed away in 1997, started the Missionaries of Charity and worked with some of India’s most vulnerable citizens.
The homeless man was identified by the Vatican only by his first name, Gian Piero and his street name, Wué.
The other two honoured were Franciscan priest Hanna Jallouf, a Syrian who works in his country, and Italian industrialist Silvano Pedrollo for his work in building schools and bringing clean drinking water to the poor in developing countries.
Francis gave them the prize, a small globe of the world in a cube-shaped frame with an image of Mother Teresa holding a child, at a ceremony in the Vatican.
At the ceremony, the pope kissed the homeless man’s hand and one of the nuns of the order founded by Mother Teresa put a flower garland around the pope’s neck.
At a separate audience, Rome seminarians presented him with cake. No other particular birthday celebrations were planned.
Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires in 1936. Next March, he will mark the 10th anniversary of his election as head of the 1.3 billion member Roman Catholic Church.