Pope Francis Turns 77

Four homeless people from outside the Vatican walls joined the Pontiff to celebrate

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AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano

In this picture provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis, right, is flanked by Vatican Almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski as he welcomes four men at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.

Pope Francis celebrated his 77th birthday on Tuesday with four homeless people — and one of their dogs — who live on the street in Rome outside the Vatican walls.

It was an apt celebration for the TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year, who has championed the plight of the poor and developed a reputation as an activist and reformer. The group attended the Pope’s daily mass and then joined the Pontiff over breakfast at the dining room of the Vatican City hotel where he lives, the Associated Press reports. One of the men was holding his dog when he was introduced to the Pope after Mass.

The festivities were expected to continue with the arrival Tuesday of a delegation from the Pope’s favorite soccer team, San Lorenzo de Almagro, from his home country of Argentina. The team won the Argentine national championship and was to present Pope Francis with a replica of the championship trophy Tuesday or Wednesday.

The Pope, the first non-European to head the Church in more than 1,200 years, became a paying member of the San Lorenzo club in 2008, Bloomberg reports.

Also on Tuesday, leading LGBT magazine The Advocate selected Pope Francis as its person of the year for his softening tone on homosexuality. On Monday, Pope Francis replaced a conservative American cardinal who has been an outspoken critic of same-sex marriage with a more moderate American Cardinal for a spot on a high-level Vatican committee, signaling a will for further reform in the Vatican, the New York Times reports.