A Forum for the Serious Side of Circus Life

Monte Carlo Event to Emphasize Pastoral Care

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ROME, JAN. 12, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Circus entertainers need pastoral help too — and they get it from the Church.

The International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo will provide the context for the forthcoming Forum of Christian Organizations for the Pastoral Care of the Circus World and Amusement Parks.

The initiative was announced in the wake of John Paul II’s encounter with more than 100 circus professionals at last Wednesday’s general audience.

The news was published by the Italian bishops’ National Office for the Pastoral Care of Professionals of Fairs and Circuses.

Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox will participate in this Jan. 17-21 event in the principality of Monaco. Also attending will be priests, religious, deacons and laypeople who are dedicated to the spiritual and human service of people working in this sector of the entertainment world.

Bishop Alfredo Magarotto of Vittorio Veneto believes that the circus world «hopes to be rediscovered, understood, and helped so that it can integrate itself in the living fabric of the pastoral care of our Christian communities, respecting the characteristics of its culture and its valid religious traditions.»

The forum is being held at a time when in many countries the circus world is going through a severe economic crisis. In Italy, the number of circus people visiting the Pastoral Care Office has dropped by half over the past year.

«It is a world of profound Christian roots,» explained Monsignor Piergiorgio Saviola, director of the bishops’ office for pastoral care of circus workers.

«It is precisely for this reason that we focus on the formation of performers from the moral and religious point of view so that they will in turn be evangelizers among their people and among those who follow them, protagonists of evangelization in their environment,» the monsignor added.

In Italy, the pastoral care of the circus world and amusement parks involves, at least part time, 90 priests and men religious, seven deacons, about 10 women religious and 55 laymen.

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