Here is a translation of the Pope’s address Monday to directors, officials and agents of Vatican public security.

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Mr. Head of the Police,

Distinguished Gentlemen,

Dear Officials and Agents,

I welcome you and give each of you my cordial greeting, which I extend to your families and to all your dear ones. I thank the Director General for the courteous expressions he addressed to me on behalf of those present and of all those who form part of the Inspectorate of Public Security to the Vatican. This traditional meeting, the first for me, offers me the occasion to express my gratitude to you for your service, especially that which you carry out in Saint Peter’s Square: with cold, with heat, with rain, with wind always … this means so much! We are all aware of the need to work always so that the uniqueness of this singular place is protected, preserving its character of sacred and universal space. And, necessary for this is discreet but attentive vigilance. In fact, in Saint Peter’s Square people are serene, move calmly, enjoy a sense of peace. And this is also thanks to you, who watch over the public order.

I think also of your commitment during moments of greater gatherings of the faithful, who come from all over the world to meet the Pope, to pray near the tomb of Saint Peter and those of his Successors, especially John XXIII and John Paul II.

Your work calls for technical and professional preparation, together with attentive vigilance, with kindness and dedication. The pilgrims and tourists, as well as those who work in the different offices of the Holy See, know that they can count on your cordial assistance.

I thank you especially for your efficient activity during the days that preceded the Conclave, following the renunciation of Pope Benedict. I take advantage of this meeting to renew my most sincere thank you, mine and that of my collaborators, to all those who in those circumstances offered their support so that everything would unfold with order and tranquility.

And I hope that the period spent in the service to the Vatican will be for each one of you an opportunity to grow in the faith. Faith is the most precious treasure that your families have entrusted to you and that you are called to transmit to your children. It is important to rediscover the message of the Gospel and to receive it profoundly in our consciences and in the concreteness of daily life, witnessing to the love of God courageously in every environment, also in that of work.

I entrust you all to the Virgin Mary. May she, as a solicitous Mother, protect each one of you, your families, and your work. I ask you, please, to pray for me -- I need it -- and I bless you from my heart.

[Original text: Italian]

[Translation by ZENIT]