«The Church Must Not Forget Us»

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 12, 2000 (Zenit.org).-
Even daredevils need shepherds.

At a press conference held to discuss this weekend´s Jubilee of the World of Entertainment, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray recalled a plea he once received from an amusement park worker.

«[An] acrobatic motorcyclist of the ´wall of death´ of the amusement park, whom at one stage I prepared for his first Communion, recently wrote me: ´The Church must not forget us, we are not just entertainment merchants,´» said the cardinal, who heads the committee overseeing the Jubilee Year.

The Jubilee of the World of Entertainment, the last of the special events by category on the Jubilee calendar, will be held from Friday to Sunday. And contrary to what might be thought, it will be more an expression of substance than form.

There will be few famous names but many workers from the entertainment field. Street artists, actors of minor theaters and circuses, and more than 70 musical bands are expected on hand.

During today´s press conference, Cardinal Etchegaray said that as a young priest he visited «theater people even in the dressing rooms, and circus people even in their caravans.»

He explained that, «distinguishing it from the Great Jubilee of Artists, held Feb. 18, this time the Church has wished to highlight the festive value of art, especially popular art. In this sense, over the months the entire Jubilee has been a continual celebration.»

Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe, secretary-general of the Jubilee committee, said, «The world of entertainment is not just made up of lights and reflectors, and does not only refer to a parade of ´stars.´ It is a world of work, often hard and exhausting, which affects thousands of people, many of whom act humbly from behind the scenes.»

Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, added, «We wanted to avoid a situation in which ´stars´ might in some way eclipse the Sun, the Son of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ. As happened during the Journalists Jubilee, men and women professionals have come to pray as simple pilgrims. We were impressed by that, and have tried to follow this same spirit.»

About 8,000 people have confirmed their attendance at the upcoming Jubilee, said Bishop Pierfranco Pastore, secretary of the communications council. He concluded: «Our hope is that all those who participate in the Jubilee of the World of Entertainment will be able to become, like the shepherds at the Nativity, leaders on the way that leads to the Light that radiates from the Bethlehem cave.»

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