LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."
Friday, 17 June 2016
Pope praises circus folk and meets tiger
The Pope has praised circus artists, carnival workers, street performers and other travelling performers, and also given his blessing to animal entertainers, it seems, after petting a performing tiger in Rome.
According to a report in the Catholic Herald, Pope Francis thanked the artists for bringing beauty and joy to an often dark, sad world.
“You cannot imagine what good you do, the good you sow,”said Pope Francis during a special audience celebrating the jubilee of circus and travelling-show performers.
While they may never know the impact they truly have on people, “you can be sure,” he said, that “you sow these seeds that do many people good.”
Hundreds of performers, family members and supporters gathered in the Paul VI hall as part of a two-day pilgrimage to Rome for the Year of Mercy.
To the tune of “O Sole Mio” played by an organ grinder, an animal wrangler used a baby bottle filled with milk to lure the leashed tiger toward the Pope, who was invited to pet the enormous cat.
In his talk, the Pope noted the performers’ special ability to bring a smile to a child’s face, brighten a lonely person’s day and draw people closer together.
Calling them “artisans” of wonder, beauty and celebration, he praised their abilities to lift people’s spirits and offer communities “healthy entertainment.”
The often difficult life of being on the road was “a special resource,” he said, because it meant they – like Christ – could bring God’s love, joy and embrace to even greater numbers of people, especially those on the margins of society.
He thanked them for offering shows and free admission to the poor, the homeless, prisoners and disadvantaged kids during the Year of Mercy.
“This, too, is mercy: sowing beauty and happiness in a world [that is] sometimes gloomy and sad.”
The Pope urged local parishes to reach out to travelling performers, offering them the sacraments and eliminating prejudicial attitudes that marginalise them. He also invited the entertainers to deepen their faith, especially by handing on God’s love to their children and others.