Croatian President Congratulates 80th Birthday to Pope Francis

By 17 December 2016

Pope Francis is celebrating his 80th birthday on Saturday.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has sent a birthday message to Pope Francis who on Saturday celebrates his 80th birthday. President wished him good health and spiritual strength to continue to spread peace and prosperity among the people, said Office of the President in a statement, reports Večernji List on December 17, 2016.

“It is my honour to send you, on behalf of Croatian citizens and me personally, our warmest congratulations on the occasion of your birthday”, said the President, with sincere wishes to Pope Francis “for your good health and spiritual strength to continue to spread peace and prosperity among the people”.

The President especially thanked the Pope “for the support you have demonstrated towards the Republic of Croatia”.

“Your messages of generosity, understanding, love and peace which you spread around the world with your moral authority make us brave and give us hope for the future”, added President Grabar-Kitarović.

She said that Pope's efforts and positions on social issues and social policies were important and useful not only for the faithful of the Catholic Church, but for all people around the world, regardless of their religious affiliation.

Pope began his birthday celebrations on Saturday with a special mass where he was joined by those cardinals who live in Rome. He asked them to pray for him to remain wise in old-age, and “quiet, filled with faith, and full of joy”.

One of the gifts that the Pope has received for his birthday are special glasses from Croatia, made of wood from an ancient olive tree.

Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He became Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, after the resignation of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI. During his term, the Pope has met at the Vatican with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and then Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković.