- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pope Francis celebrated his 77th birthday at the Vatican on Tuesday with four homeless individuals who hail from the streets of Rome, in a neighborhood right outside the Holy See’s walls.

The Associated Press reported that the one of the homeless men in attendance brought his dog. They were invited to the affair by the Vatican official who oversees the alms-giving during morning Mass.

The pope also asked his housekeeping help and service staff to join in the meal and help create a “family-like” atmosphere, AP reported.

Pope Francis‘ reach-out to the homeless is not really that surprising, given his Catholic Church leadership has been marked by a determined regard for the poverty-stricken and a steady preach for those of the faith to help those with less means.

The small gathering attended Mass and then retired to the pope’s dining room to eat breakfast, AP said.