Vatican City, 11 January 2013 (VIS) - This afternoon, the Holy Father received the Corps of the Gendarmerie and the Fire Department of the Vatican City Sate in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican palace. After a greeting offered by Commander Domenico Giani, director of Security Services and Civil Protection, Benedict XVI addressed those gathered.
“This occasion,” said the Pope, “gives me the opportunity to express to you … my appreciation, my heartfelt encouragement, and mostly my deep gratitude for the generous work you carry out discretely, competently, efficiently, and not without sacrifice. Almost every day I have the opportunity to meet some of you in your various places of work and to personally witness your professionalism in collaborating on and guaranteeing the Pope’s surveillance as well as the necessary safety and order of those who reside in the state and those who take part in the celebrations and events that take place in the Vatican.”
“The Corps of the Gendarmerie is called to carry out, among other tasks, that of courteously and kindly greeting the Vatican’s pilgrims and visitors who come from Rome, Italy, and every part of the world. This labour of vigilance and control, which you conduct with diligence and care, is certainly substantial and delicate. At times it requires more than a little patience, perseverance, and willingness to listen. It is a very useful service to the tranquil and safe conduct of daily life and of the religious events of Vatican City.”
The Pope urged the gendarmes and firefighters to see on each pilgrim and visitor “the face of a brother or sister whom God has placed on your path” and to therefore “to welcome them with courtesy and assist them knowing that they are part of the great human family. Your task,” he emphasized, “will be more efficient for the Holy See and more enriching for you the more that it is undertaken with serenity and harmony. To that end it is necessary that the gendarmes, who for a long time have guaranteed their service within the Corps, and those responsible for their mandate establish, ever more fully, trusting relationships that can sustain and nourish all the members of the Vatican's Gendarmerie, even in difficult moments."
"May your unique presence at the heart of Christianity, where crowds and faithful constantly gather to meet the successor of Peter and to visit the tombs of the Apostles, always arouse in each of you the task of intensifying the spiritual dimension of life as well as the commitment to deepen your Christian faith, bearing courageous witness to it in each area of life with coherent conduct," the Holy Father concluded.