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ROME (AP) — Pope Francis celebrates his 85th birthday on Friday, a milestone made even more remarkable given the coronavirus pandemic, his summertime intestinal surgery and the weight of history: His predecessor retired at this age and the last pope to have lived any longer was Leo XIII over a century ago.

Yet Francis is going strong, recently concluding a whirlwind trip to Cyprus and Greece after his pandemic-defying jaunts this year to Iraq, Slovakia and Hungary. He has set in motion an unprecedented two-year consultation of rank-and-file Catholics on making the church more attuned to the laity, and shows no sign of slowing down on his campaign to make the post-COVID world a more environmentally sustainable, economically just and fraternal place where the poor are prioritized.