At 12:30 today, the Holy Father Francis received in audience — in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace –, the Members of the Italian National Association of Traveling Show People (ANESV), on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Association’s activity. Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s address to those present at the audience.
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The Holy Father’s Address
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I give my warm welcome to you, who belong to the world of the traveling show, represented here by your National Association (ANESV), and I thank the president for his courteous words. I extend my greeting to your families and colleagues who were unable to be present, with a particular thought for the children, the elderly and the sick.
I know well that the life of itinerant work isn’t an easy life. I know the hardships you encounter with your families, in your constant going from place to place. It is the difficulty to recoup the parking areas of the attractions; to find the appropriate places for your caravans, having to stay sometimes in places outside of the city, and to stop in communities that don’ always appreciate the social value of this type of show. Don’t get discouraged, but continue on your way, so that our cities and our countries won’t lose the enjoyment of this particular beauty through your presence, your art <and> your joy.
Yours is a way that, thank God, is illumined by faith, a faith that you live above all in the family, and this is very important: the family on the way with God, encouraged by trust in Providence. A faith that also finds in the different parishes you go through, places of reference for your spiritual break, for participation in the Eucharist, the preparation and celebration of the Sacraments, for the fraternal advice and help of the community. Therefore, I hope that between your traveling communities and the parish communities there is always openness, encounter, the desire to know one another and to share moments of life and of prayer.
In my meeting in June of last year with all the world of the traveling show, I stressed that you are “artisans of celebration, of wonder and of the beautiful, […] called to nourish sentiments of hope and trust.” It’s true: yours is a ”craftsmen’s” beauty, different from that produced by the great powers of entertainment, which is somewhat “aseptic,” I would say not very human. I confess that I prefer yours, which in the main perfumes with astonishment <and> delight and which, however, is fruit of hours and hours of hard work. A carousel never ceases to amaze, it generates a sweet joy, in little ones and grownups. Grownups also rediscover there the joy of childhood’ they become a little bit liker children and they grow by returning to the roots of the memory of <their> childhood.
In fact, joy is the vocation of your life and of your work. I think that, if we go back to the origin of each one of your shows, of your “caravans,” we always find someone – a grandfather, a grandmother, a great-grandfather . . . who was passionate about this type of show, who felt a joyful vocation, and because of this was also willing to make great sacrifices. It’s a vocation that becomes immediately mission: mission to offer people, children but also adults and elderly, occasions of healthy, clean entertainment. It is healthy and clean entertainment, without the need to go “down low” to find material to entertain people – healthy and clean entertainment. And how can the hand of God not be in this vocation and mission? God loves us and wants us to be happy. His mark is wherever there is simple, clean joy. Therefore, if you are able to preserve these values, this authenticity and simplicity, you are messengers of the joy that pleases God and that comes from Him.
Dear brothers and sisters, I entrust you all to the maternal protection of Mary our Mother. May she accompany you always in your going and staying. I bless you all from my heart, your dear ones and your work. And I ask you, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]