Pope Francis turned 87 on Sunday feted by children who helped him blow out a single candle on a white cake.

The children, from a Vatican-run paediatric clinic, sang for the pope and gave him a bouquet of sunflowers.

Later, at a traditional Christmas season event at his weekly address in St. Peter’s Square he blessed tiny statues of the infant Jesus held up by children who will place them in their nativity scenes at home.

The dozens of children in the square shouted “Buon Compleanno”, Italian for Happy Birthday, and held up signs with the same greeting.

Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Italian immigrant stock on Dec. 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires. Cardinals chose him as the first pope from Latin America on March 13, 2013.

On a post the platform X, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni sent greeting to the pope and thanked him for his “deep commitment to peace”.