Some of his best moments from this year -- his second since becoming pope -- had serious policy implications as well. Here are some highlights:
He also received more than 1,700 pounds of chicken that he said would be sent to local soup kitchens.
His birthday is not the only time of the year that the pope helps the needy, however, as construction is underway for three showers for homeless people to use right outside St. Peter's Square in the Vatican.
He reportedly said that he was pleased to see women taking on larger roles in the church and within families, and sees that growing "more capillary and incisive."
USA Today reported that he praised women's "gifts of delicacy" and their "special sensitivity and tenderness."
4. Answers Pet Owners PrayersThe pope made believers out of pet lovers when he hinted that dogs will be allowed through the pearly gates of heaven.
The comment came earlier this month when Pope Francis was comforting a young boy whose dog had recently died, telling the boy not to worry because "paradise is open to all of God's creatures."
5. Blasts Vatican Bureaucrats with his Christmas AddressMost people send out thoughtful notes and warm wishes during the holiday season. Pope Francis is not most people.
The Associated Press reports that the head of the Catholic Church issued a 15-point plan explaining all that is wrong with the Vatican's bureaucracy, saying that the bishops and cardinals and priests who serve him are guilty of using their positions to grab power.
Pope Francis, who won popularity for shunning some of the more glamorous perks of his position for more humble options, wrote that they were living "hypocritical" double lives.
He wrote that by fixing these 15 "ailments of the Curia," the church will become healthier and holier in the next year.