The congress, organized by the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, opened today. About 100 people, including bishops, are attending the meeting, whose theme is “Reception of Professionals of the Circus and Fairs: From Diversity to Coexistence of Differences.”
The participants are scheduled for an audience with John Paul II on Thursday.
Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the pontifical council, explained Saturday on Vatican Radio that the congress proposes to study “the type of reception that the local Church, the Catholic community, and the parish can offer these people who are passing through, in constant change.”
This reception “must be able to appreciate the values that characterize these people and try to facilitate coexistence among the different cultures, religions, as well as mentalities and customs,” he said.
The prelate cited the example of four nuns in the United States who accompany circuses. “They live in the caravans and create with their presence a community of prayer,” he said. “The presence of the nuns naturally facilitates the chaplains’ ministry.”