Pope Francis' 87th birthday closes out a big year of efforts

To reform the church and cement his legacy
Vatican Pope Birthday
APTOPIX Vatican Pope Birthday
Posted at 12:43 PM, Dec 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-17 12:43:35-05

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis is marking a birthday. He turned 87 on Sunday.

It closes out a year that saw big milestones in his efforts to reform the Catholic Church as well as health scares that raise questions about his future as pope.

Francis celebrated his birthday with cake during a festive audience with children Sunday morning.

And there were "Happy Birthday" banners in St. Peter's Square during his weekly noon blessing. One early birthday present came Saturday.

A Vatican tribunal handed down a mix of guilty verdicts and acquittals in a complicated trial that Francis had supported as evidence of his financial reforms.