VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is marking his 80th birthday on Saturday with a morning Mass with his cardinals and an otherwise "normal" day of back-to-back meetings and audiences.
Francis isn't one to make a big deal about birthdays, but his decision to celebrate a special Mass in the Paoline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace suggests that even he recognizes 80 is a significant milestone. The chapel is where Francis spent his first minutes in prayer after being elected in 2013.
Francis then has a series of audiences, including with the president of Malta and the head of the Vatican's office for bishops, among others.
The birthday comes at a tumultuous time for Francis, as he presses economic reforms in the Vatican and endures criticism from conservatives over his pastoral approach.