L'osservatore Romano

Pope's Address to Traveling Artists, Performers

“This too is mercy: to sow beauty and joy in a world that at times is gloomy and sad”

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Pope Francis today received in audience participants in Jubilee celebrations for itinerant artists, from puppeteers and street musicians to open-air painters and circus performers.
 Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s address.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I give my cordial welcome to all of you, who in various ways work in the realm of the travelling and popular show. I thank the Cardinal President for his words, and I thank your representatives, who gave us their testimonies and a brief show, as well as all those who collaborated to prepare this event. I extend my greeting to your families and colleagues who were unable to be present.
Circus and fair people, fun fair and fairground workers, buskers and pavement artists and members of musical bands, you form the great family of the travelling and popular show. You are “artisans” of celebration, of wonder, of the beautiful: with these qualities you enrich the society of the whole world, also with the ambition to nourish sentiments of hope and trust. You do so through exhibitions that have the capacity to elevate the spirit, to show the audacity of particularly demanding exercises, to fascinate with the wonder of the beautiful and of proposing occasions of healthy entertainment.
Celebration and delight are distinctive signs of your identity, of your professions and of your life, and, in the Jubilee of Mercy, this meeting could not be lacking. You have a special resource: with your continuous moving, you can bring to all the love of God, His embrace and His mercy. You can be an itinerant Christian community, witnesses of Christ who is always on the way to encounter those that are most distant.
I congratulate you because, in this Holy Year, you opened your shows to the neediest, to the poor and to the homeless, to prisoners, and to poor youngsters. This too is mercy: to sow beauty and joy in a world that at times is gloomy and sad.
The travelling and popular show is the oldest form of entertainment; it is in reach of all and addressed to all, little ones and grownups, in particular to families. It spreads the culture of encounter and socialization in entertainment. Your spaces of work can become places of aggregation and fraternity. Therefore, I encourage you to always be welcoming towards the little ones and the needy; to offer words and gestures of consolation to those shut-in on themselves, recalling Saint Paul’s words: “He who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:8). As Saint John Paul II said, you can “make a child smile and illumine for an instant the desperate look of a person alone and, through the show and celebration, render men closer to one another” (6th International Meeting  of the Pastoral for Circus and Fair People, December 16, 1993: Insegnamenti XVI, 2 [1993], 1486).
I am well aware that, because of the rhythms of your life and your work, it is difficult for you to be part of a parish community in a stable way. Therefore, I invite you to take care of your faith. Take every occasion to approach the Sacraments. Transmit to your children the love of God and of neighbor. And I recommend to the particular Churches and to parishes to be attentive to your needs and those of all people in mobility. As you know, the Church is concerned about the problems that accompany your itinerant life, and she wishes to help you to eliminate the prejudices that sometimes keep you somewhat on the margins. May you always be able to carry out your work with love and care, confident that God accompanies you with His Providence, generous in the works of charity, willing to offer the resources and the genius of your arts and of your professions.
I entrust you all to the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, Mother of Mercy. I impart to you and to your dear ones my blessing and I ask you, please, not to forget to pray for me. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by ZENIT]

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