VATICAN CITY, DEC. 19, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Professionals of fairs, circuses and amusement parks have a “privileged occasion” in their work to proclaim worldwide “authentically human values,” says John Paul II.
The Pope made that observation when meeting in audience participants in the 7th International Congress for the Pastoral Care of Professionals of the Circus and Fairs.
The event, promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Migrants and Travelers, met last week in Rome and gathered about 100 bishops, chaplains, religious and laity from several countries.
The theme of the meeting was “To Welcome Professionals of the Circus and Fairs: From Diversity to Coexistence of Differences.”
In his address Thursday to participants in the event, the Pope spoke in particular to the professionals of the circus and fairs, who carry out their work “in the midst of people of all social classes” offering opportunities for people of different ages to get together in joyful encounters.
“Your work, not easy and certainly special, can be a privileged occasion to proclaim authentically human values in the squares of the world,” the Holy Father said.
“At a time when it seems that only the frenzy to produce and be enriched seems to matter, to bring joy and celebration is testimony of those non-material values that are necessary to live fraternity and gratuitousness,” he added.
With their work, professionals of this sector can also “offer a singular example of the pilgrim Church, which prays, listens, proclaims and cultivates fraternity,” the Pope added.
He contended that the world of the circus and of amusement parks can become a laboratory as regards “the great pastoral themes, of ecumenism and meetings with members of other religions, of common commitment to build a universal fraternity.”
“I pray that the Lord will help you in your not-so-easy work,” the Pope concluded, wishing all a happy Christmas and imparting his apostolic blessing.
The Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers defines the work of circus professionals, both artists as well as workers, not only a profession, but as an “authentic vocation transmitted from generation to generation.”
Describing the professionals’ work as a “source of healthy diversion,” the dicastery said that “the world of the circus and of amusement parks allows man of the cold technological culture to rediscover laughter, joy, serenity,” and added that its professionals are “artisans of celebration, … authentic dispensers of joy, marvel and wonder.”