Cake for ‘joyful’ pope on his 81st birthday

Pope Francis addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter’s square as he celebrates his birthday on December 17. (AFP)
Updated 17 December 2017
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Cake for ‘joyful’ pope on his 81st birthday

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis celebrated his 81st birthday Sunday with a hero cake and a message urging the world — and children in particular — to join in the holiday mood and be joyful.
The Argentine pontiff thanked the crowds gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer as they sang happy birthday, and was expected to slice into his birthday cake after lunch.
It sports a picture of the pope carrying the world on his shoulders, designed by Italian graffiti artist MauPal.
The artist — whose real name is Mauro Pallotta — famously depicted Francis as Superman in 2014 and has since begun supporting Vatican charitable projects by selling T-shirts bearing the flying pope.
The pear and cinnamon delight shows Francis in his white cassock, holding up with one hand the world, which is divided in two but stitched back together — a symbol of the pope’s unifying force, Rome pastry maker Hedera said.
Francis’s birthday this year falls on Gaudete Sunday, which the church marks as a moment of particular joy as celebrations for the birth of Jesus Christ approach.
“Be always joyful, even when things don’t go as we wish they would,” the pope said during the Angelus prayer.
He had earlier stressed the importance of sheltering children from adult woes.
“When children see problems at home, parents that fight, they suffer. Don’t make them sad. They must always grow up with joy,” he said as he met disadvantaged youngsters looked after by a Vatican foundation.


Royals Harry and Meghan go barefoot on Bondi

Despite morning fog, the pair met local surfers enjoying winter swells. (AP)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Royals Harry and Meghan go barefoot on Bondi

  • Pre-prepared signs screaming “G’day Harry and Meghan” greeted the royal couple

SYDNEY: British royals Harry and Meghan kicked off their shoes and donned tropical garlands Friday, as they hit Sydney’s famed Bondi beach for the latest stop on their Australian tour.
Expectant Meghan donned a summer dress, putting aside her high heels, while Harry ditched his usual suit for chinos as the couple lapped up cheers from Australian fans and enjoyed Bondi’s surf.
Despite morning fog, the pair met local surfers enjoying winter swells and sat down on the sand for a long chat with leaders of the OneWave group, which focuses on helping people improve mental health by getting outdoors.
Pre-prepared signs screaming “G’day Harry and Meghan” greeted the royal couple, who have received a warm welcome from fans throughout the start of their 16-day pacific tour.
While half of Australians oppose having British monarchs as head of state, and the vast majority of Australians have carried on with business as usual during the visit, there has been sizable support for the celebrity couple at every stop.
News that the Duchess of Sussex is pregnant has only made the crowds swell.
Amid a torrent of fawning press coverage declaring Meghan the “Queen of hugs” and the prince receiving “buckets of love,” the Australian Republican Movement is putting on a brave face.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very welcome visitors” the group said at the start of the trip, pointedly adding that “Australians of all ages know the difference between this wonderful event and the questions of our nation’s identity and future.”
In a 1999 referendum, 55 percent of Australians voted against replacing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, although polls indicate support for republicanism has grown since then.
The opposition Labor party has promised a plebiscite on the issue if it wins a general election expected in 2019.