The pope had a few unusual visitors at today. Pope Benedict XVI greeted clowns, puppeteers and circus animals for an unusual performance at the Vatican.
According to the Associated Press, the pope invited several members of the circus to give a performance at the Vatican in order to make them feel, as well as other street performers, like they are part of the church. Thousands of performers came from dozens of countries to entertain an audience at St. Peter’s Square.
Benedict said that he appreciated the sacrifices that circus workers make in order to bring joy to the people and urged them to keep the faith as they traveled across the country.
“Dear friends, you spread around you a joyful atmosphere and you ease the burden of daily work. May you also be men and women with a strong inner self, open to contemplation and dialogue with God. I pray that your faith in Christ and your devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary may sustain you in your life and work … I hope that you can find, in the communities where you stay, people who are welcoming and available and able to care for your spiritual needs.”
The Vatican noted that this is not the first time that the circus has come to town. Vatican officials said that various circus troupes have done papal performances in the past but this weekend’s event was dedicated solely to circus performers and included people from all over the globe.