Happy Birthday to Pope Francis "80th Birthday Anniversary "December 17, 2016" #Cap

Pope Francis 80th birthday datoy (December 17) and in keeping with his low-key style no special events have been organised on today to mark the occasion. However, in order to celebrate the pope's 80 years of life, the Vatican has released a special stamp which has been printed in panes of four.

Spanish artist Raul Berzosa was commissioned to paint the picture used for the stamp. It depicts Pope Francis giving a blessing with Our Lady of Lujan, patroness of Argentina in the background, with the colours of the Argentinean flag. The white and gold of the Vatican flag is also used in the painting.

"This special issue for a pope who turns 80 is a typical practice for the Vatican's philatelic office," explained the Head of the Philatelic and Numismatic office, Mauro Olivieri."We have done this for (Pope) Paul VI, for (Pope) John Paul II, for Pope Ratzinger," Olvieri said."So this issue is typical for the Vatican when the Holy Father reaches 80, we always issue stamps," he added.

The booklet containing the four stamps is on sale for 19 euro ($20 USD) and can be bought or ordered from the Vatican post office.
Olivieri said planning was also underway for the special occasion of Pope Emeritus Benedict turning 90 in 2017 when another special edition stamp booklet will be issued.

The framed oil painting of the image used for the stamp was presented to the pope ahead of his birthday. "Pope Francis is a pope who is very loved and the public, collectors, pilgrims and the faithful and tourists in St. Peter's square all ask for images of the pope," said Olivieri.

"This is an image we have worked on, it is a painting and it is very affective, it is beautiful and colourful and it is a great image of the pope so I imagine this will, as usual, be greatly requested," he added.

The grandson of Italians who emigrated to Argentina during the Depression, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born into a middle-class family in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936. The first non-European pope in 1,300 years, the first from Latin America and the first Jesuit pope, he was elected on March 13, 2013.

He took the name Francis - the first time a pope has done so - in honour of St. Francis of Assisi, the saint associated with peace, simplicity, concern for the poor, and respect for the environment.
On his birthday, the pope is expected to follow his usual daily routines at the Vatican and the Casa Santa Marta residence where he lives.

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