December 13, 2016 — Pope Francis turns 80 on Dec. 17, and as he blows out his candles, the Society of Jesus is celebrating the many contributions he’s made to the world.
“I ask you to pray for me. Don’t forget!” It’s a phrase Pope Francis has repeated untold times as he’s traveled the globe in the nearly four years since his election.
So, what to give the newly minted octogenarian? How about the very thing he always asks for: prayers and lots of them.
Here are 80 things the Jesuits love about Pope Francis.
1. As the first Jesuit pope , Francis was trained in a faith that does justice and a spirituality that seeks to find God in all things.
2. When Pope Francis first stepped out on the balcony after his election, his first words were a humble “Buona sera” (“Good evening”).
5. For his new digs, he chose the Vatican guesthouse instead of the papal apartments.
7. Esquire named him the "Best Dressed Man" of 2013.
8. But he just calls himself “ a sinner .”
9. He isn’t afraid to extend his ministry into the digital world and referred to the internet as "a gift from God."
10. He’s the first pope to have an Instagram account , reaching one million followers in just 12 hours.
11. He shares his message with 31 million followers on Twitter at @Pontifex and his accounts in 8 other languages.
14. In his children’s book, “ Dear Pope Francis ,” the pope was asked, “If you could do one miracle, what would it be?” His answer: “I would heal children.”
15. He could not be cuter with babies .
(CNS photo/Paul Haring)
(CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano, handout)
27. Personally invited a group of homeless men to celebrate his 77th birthday .
28. Granted sainthood to one of his favorite Jesuits , Peter Faber, saying Faber was “capable of great and strong decisions but also capable of being so gentle and loving.”
29. Marked his 78th birthday by gifting 400 sleeping bags to those in need in Rome.
32. Built a new homeless shelter near the Vatican.
33. He’s not afraid to break protocol, like the time he invited African refugees on stage with him at a general audience.
36. Reaching out to Muslims , he called for mutual respect between the two religions.
37. He celebrated Mass at the U.S.-Mexico border.
(CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
40. Instead of dining with Congress, had…