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Monday, December 3, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI received the participants in the pilgrimage of the "World of Itinerant Performers", promoted on the occasion of the Year of Faith by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, in collaboration with the diocese of Rome and the "Migrantes" foundation of the Italian Episcopal Conference. Thousands of circus performers, fairground workers, puppeteers, acrobats, street performers, musical band members, mechanical musicians, folk groups and pavement artists were present.

"Your great family is distinguished above all by your ability to use the particular and specific language of your art", which, the Pope said, "constitutes an immediate form of communication for entering into dialogue with children and adults, kindling feelings of serenity, joy and harmony".

"With these characteristics and style, you show the values that form a part of your tradition: love for the family, care for the young, attention to the disabled, care for the sick, and respect for the elderly and their experience. In your environment, dialogue between generations, a sense of friendship, and the pleasure of working as a team all flourish. You excel in hospitality and the welcome you extend to others, along with your attention to responding to the most authentic wishes, especially those of the young generations. Your crafts require sacrifices, responsibility and perseverance, courage and generosity; virtues today's society does not always appreciate, but which have contributed to shaping entire generations within your great family".

The Pope continued, "I am also aware of the many problems you face due to your itinerant condition, such as the education of your children, the search for appropriate locations for performances, obtaining authorisation for shows and stay permits for foreigners. I hope that the local authorities will make efforts to protect you as a group, recognising the social and cultural value of travelling shows, and encourage both you and the rest of civil society to overcome prejudice, aspiring to a good level of integration in local contexts".

"The Church takes pleasure in the commitment you show and appreciates your loyalty to the traditions you are justly proud of. Like you, the Church is a pilgrim in the world, and invites you to participate in her divine mission through your daily work. ... Although the itinerant life can prevent you from stable participation in a parish community and does not facilitate regular participation in catechesis and divine worship, new evangelisation is necessary even in your world. I hope that you are able to find welcoming and accommodating people, able to help meet your spiritual needs, in the communities within which you temporarily stay. However, do not forget that the family is the first route by which faith is transmitted; it is the little domestic Church entrusted with the role of introducing Jesus and His Gospel, and educating in accordance with God's law, so that everyone might reach full human and Christian maturity".

"Assuring you of the closeness of the Church, who shares your path, I entrust you all to the Virgin Mary, the star of your journey, whose maternal presence will accompany you in every moment of your life", concluded Benedict XVI.

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