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Pope Francis Fast Facts




Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, on the left, reads aloud the words engraved on a pen when he meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, December 16, 2016. The words “The bullets have written our past, education will write our future ”in the pen, made from a recycled bullet that was used in the civil war between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Later, the pen was used to sign the peace agreements between the parties earlier this year. Santos, who was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the longest-running conflict in the region, presented Pope Francis with the pen.

Pope Francis accepts a letter from a child he visited at a pediatric hospital in Rome on Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Pope Francis poses with members of the International Catholic Rural Association at the Vatican on Saturday, December 10, 2016.

Pope Francis greets the faithful on his arrival in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican for the special pontifical audience of the jubilee, on Saturday, October 22, 2016.

Pope Francis looks on with joy as he releases a dove as a symbol of peace during a meeting with the Assyrian Chaldean community at the Chaldean Catholic Church of St Simon Bar Sabbae in Tbilisi, Georgia, on September 30, 2016.

Pope Francis sees Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II celebrating the divine liturgy in the Apostolic Cathedral of Etchmiadzin, outside Yerevan, Armenia, on June 26, 2016.

Pope Francis arrives to hold an extraordinary jubilee audience as part of the ongoing celebrations of the Holy Year of Mercy in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City on May 14, 2016.

Pope Francis confesses in St. Peter’s Basilica during the Vatican’s penitential celebration on Friday, March 4, 2016.

Pope Francis is trying a traditional Friday that he received as a gift from a Mexican journalist on Friday, February 12, 2016 aboard a flight from Rome to Havana, Cuba. The trip began his week-long trip to Mexico. With his penchant for spontaneous and pleasing acts of compassion for the crowd, Pope Francis has garnered great praise from fellow Catholics and others since Pope Benedict XVI succeeded him in March 2013.

Bolivian President Evo Morales presents the Pope with a gift of a crucifix carved into a wooden hammer and sickle, the communist symbol that unites workers and peasants, in La Paz, Bolivia, on Wednesday, July 8, 2015.

Pope Francis greets a crowd of scouts and Italian Catholic guide girls in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday, June 13, 2015.

Pope Francis meets with Cuban President Raul Castro at the Vatican on Sunday, May 10, 2015. Castro thanked the Pope for his role in mediating the rapprochement between Havana and Washington.

The Pope prays face down on the floor of St. Peter’s Basilica during the Good Friday celebrations at the Vatican on Friday, April 3, 2015.

Pope Francis touches a child’s face when he arrives at a meeting at the Vatican on Friday, March 6, 2015.

Hindu priest Kurukkal SivaSri T. Mahadeva presents a shawl to Pope Francis in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.

In December 2014, the Pope attends Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Pope Francis and the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew. I address the faithful in Istanbul on Sunday, November 30, 2014.

Pope Francis speaks during the feast day mass while making a day trip to the Italian region of Calabria in June 2014. The pope spoke out against the worship of evil and contempt for good common of the mafia and declared that “mobsters are excommunicated, not in communion with God.”

The Pope meets with the faithful while visiting the Roman parish of San Gregorio Magno in April 2014.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, have an audience with the Pope during their one-day visit to Rome in April 2014.

Francis speaks with US President Barack Obama at the Vatican in March 2014.

The Pope blesses the altar of the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome while celebrating Mass on Ash Wednesday March 2014.

Daniele De Sanctis, a 19-month-old dressed as a pope, surrenders to Francis as the pontiff drives through the crowd in St. Peter’s Square in February 2014.

In February 2014, the wind blew the papal hood of Pope Francis’ head.

A lamb is placed on Francis ’neck in January 2014 when he visits a living manger staged in a church on the outskirts of Rome.

Pope Francis meets with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the Vatican in December 2013. Benedict surprised the world by resigning “because of old age.” It was the first time a pope retired in nearly 600 years.

Pope Francis marked his 77th birthday in December 2013, hosting homeless men at a Mass and a meal at the Vatican. One of the men brought his dog.

Pope Francis hugged Vinicio Riva, a disfigured man suffering from a non-infectious genetic disease, during a public hearing at the Vatican in November 2013. Riva then buried his head in the Pope’s chest.

Pope Francis jokes in November 2013 with members of the Marco Iagulli Onlus Rainbow Association, which uses clown therapy in hospitals, nursing homes and orphanages.

A young boy hugs Francesc as he delivers a speech in St. Peter’s Square in October 2013. The boy, who was part of a group of children sitting around the stage, played the Pope while the Pope continued his speech and occasionally punched him in the head.

Francis has run away from sleek cars. Here, Father Don Renzo Zocca, second from the right, offers his white Renault 4L to the Pope during a meeting at the Vatican in September 2013.

Francis is photographed in St. Peter’s Basilica with young people who came to Rome to make a pilgrimage in August 2013.

During an impromptu press conference in July 2013, while on a plane from Brazil to Rome, the Pope said of gay priests, “Who am I to judge?” Many saw the movement as the opening of a more tolerant era in the Catholic Church.

Crowds swarm the Pope as he makes his way through World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013. According to the Vatican, one million people attended the Pope.

Francis released a pigeon in May 2013 during his weekly general public in St. Peter’s Square.

Francis embraces a young boy with cerebral palsy in March 2013, a gesture many took as a comforting example of the Pope’s self-proclaimed desire to “be close to the people.”

The Pope washes the feet of juvenile delinquents, including Muslim women, as part of the Holy Thursday rituals of March 2013. The act commemorates Jesus ’washing of the apostles’ feet during the Last Supper.

Francis is at the reception of the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI residence on March 14, 2013, where he paid the bill for his stay during the conclave that would elect him leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

Francis, formerly known as Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was elected 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013. The first pontiff in Latin America was also the first to take the name of Francis.