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Pope Francis, children from Vatican pediatric clinic enjoy circus show day after pontiff’s 86th birthday

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Pope Francis receives a cake for his 86th birthday during an audience with children and volunteers of the Vatican's St. Martha Dispensary, a maternal and pediatric clinic, at the Vatican Dec. 18, 2022. (CNS photo/Guglielmo Mangiapane, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY — The day after he turned 86, Pope Francis met with volunteers, family members and children receiving care from a Vatican pediatric clinic.

The group of children receiving assistance from the Vatican’s St. Martha Dispensary, a maternal and pediatric clinic, were treated to a show by circus performers in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall Dec. 18, and to a large white sheet cake adorned with one tall candle.

The pope thanked his guests for their visit and for a “day of joy that helps us prepare for Christmas.”

He also reminded everyone to not forget to pray for the children of Ukraine — “so many children who suffer because of war and they suffer also in other places because of injustice.”