Pope Gives Sleeping Bags to Homeless for His Birthday Pontiff handed out 400 sleeping bags to Rome's destitute to celebrate his 78th By Jenn Gidman, Newser Staff Posted Dec 19, 2014 1:49 PM CST Updated Dec 19, 2014 2:00 PM CST 14 comments Comments In this photo provided by Vatican newspaper "L'Osservatore Romano," Pope Francis blows out candles on a cake during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Dec. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano) (Newser) – Pope Francis spent his birthday last year by going to church with four homeless locals. This year he upped the ante, celebrating his 78th birthday on Wednesday by donating 400 sleeping bags—complete with an imprinted papal coat of arms—to homeless people around Rome, ABC News reports. Volunteers and Swiss Guard members handed out the birthday gifts in local railroad stations and near a cemetery where the homeless are known to congregate, telling recipients, "This is a gift for you from the pope on the occasion of his birthday," per ANSA. Next up on the pope's to-do list: completing three public showers right off St. Peter's Square.