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Pope Francis invites homeless people to breakfast for his birthday

The four homeless people attended mass and breakfast with Pope Francis for his 77th birthday today.

imagePope Francis and Archbishop Konrad Krajewski with three of the four men at the Vatican. (AP Photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

POPE FRANCIS INVITED four homeless people, one of them carrying his dog, to mass and breakfast on his 77th birthday today.

The Pope hosted the breakfast at St Martha’s Residence, the Vatican hotel where he has stayed since his election in March, spurning the more grandiose Apostolic Palace where leaders of the Catholic Church usually live.

The four homeless people were among the dozens who spend every night camped out around St Peter’s Square.

Photographs released by the Vatican showed Francis speaking with three homeless men, including one holding a dog.

Vatican staff and their families also attended, including the newly-appointed Secretary of State Pietro Parolin who wished the pope a happy birthday.

The Vatican said the event was “particularly friendly”.

Francis, the first ever Latin American pope, had also been expected on Tuesday to meet with members of his favourite football team, San Lorenzo, who have come over after their championship victory in Argentina.

But the meeting had been postponed until Wednesday.

Francis hailed the good news on Monday saying “Que alegria!” (That’s great!) to a close aide after hearing the news, the Vatican said.

The Pope, formerly Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, often refers back to San Lorenzo’s 1946 championship victory and is still a member of the club, which he used to go and watch with his father.

Francis has received several football teams since he became pope, including Lazio and AS Roma before their derby, as well as the Italian and Argentine national football teams before a friendly match.

- © AFP, 2013

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