By Vatican News
Amongst those who have sent their Best Wishes to Pope Francis on his 84th birthday is Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who wrote the Pope a letter of greetings and goodwill in which he also thanks him for the “participation and solidarity” he has shown the Italian people in this year of uncertainty and fear.
Ecumenical greetings have come in as well, with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, the primary leader of the Anglican Communion, tweeting, "Happy birthday to my friend and dear brother in Christ, Pope Francis. Thank you for your joyful and humble leadership that bears witness to the love of Jesus Christ."
Birthday spent in charity and simplicity
Responding to a question put to him by Vatican News, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, said the Pope is spending a quiet and simple day in prayer, sharing his meals as he always does with other residents at the Casa Santa Marta.
Bruni also said that through the papal almoner, the poor of the city of Rome have sent sunflowers to adorn the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament at Casa Santa Marta, “as a reminder of the need to always turn our gaze towards the Lord who is present in the weakest.”
He added that today the Pope sent a gift of four respirators to Venezuela in a sign of closeness to children with lung diseases.