Pope Francis turns 79

Messages pour in for pontiff

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 17 - Pope Francis celebrated his 79th birthday on Thursday with messages from well wishers within the Church and political sphere. "Happy birthday @Pontifex_it! Your smile is our hope!" wrote MP Ernesto Magorno of Premier Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party (PD) in a message on his Twitter profile. Don Flavio Peloso, director general of charitable works organization Opera Don Orione, hailed the "revolution of tenderness" enacted by the pope. "There is not even need for lots of theological terms to understand it, the pope says clearly that we all need tenderness," Don Peloso continued.
    "With you the Church is like a ship in full sail towards the most needy," wrote the Franciscan friars in Assisi, adding that they were praying for the pope on the saint's tomb.
    The association of Italian Catholic Doctors and the Pharmaceuticals Bank Foundation also sent their best wishes to Francis for his birthday.