CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING
Pope Benedict pets a lion cub during an audience with circus performers and music bands at the Vatican Dec. 1.
Circuses, street musicians, clowns, magicians and other itinerant performers bring people joy, and they should hold tight to their values and their faith, said Pope Benedict.
The pope said the performers’ traditional lifestyle is an example of hard work, sacrifice, strong families and real respect between people of different generations.
The Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers sponsored a “people of the traveling show” pilgrimage to the Vatican that was attended by 8,000 performers and carnival workers from 15 countries.
At the Dec. 1 meeting, the pope personally greeted several of the performers and fluffed the furry coat of a lion cub. A clown gave him a Nativity scene set under a circus tent.
Pope Benedict said the values and sacrifices that itinerant performers traditionally have embodied “are not always appreciated in modern society,” but they have moulded generations of circus workers.
He also urged Catholic parishes to reach out to the performers when the circus comes to town.