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 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 99 (Suppl.), December 2005



Welcome Address



Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao

President of the Pontifical Council

 for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People



Your Excellencies, Monsignori, Reverend Fathers, 

Reverend Sisters and Distinguished Guests, 

Welcoming is the general theme of our Congress, and I want to begin this Seventh International Congress of the Pastoral Care of Circus and Travelling Show People, or Carnival People as they are called in certain countries, or lunaparchisti in Italy, by welcoming all our guests and the National Delegations.

First of all, I cordially welcome my brother Bishops who are present here: from Italy, Bishop Lino Bortolo Belotti, President of the Episcopal Commission for Migrations (CEMi) and Bishop Giuseppe Di Falco, Episcopal Promoter and Member of our Pontifical Council; from Belgium, Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, Episcopal Promoter; from the United States, Bishop John Francis Kinney, Episcopal Liaison; and from Spain, Bishop Ignacio Noguer Carmona, also Episcopal Promoter. While Bishop Belotti will be presenting a paper this morning, Bishop Vangheluwe will be moderator of the Round Table Conference of National Directors this afternoon. All other three Bishops will be presiding over the Eucharistic celebrations in the coming days.

 I extend a special word of welcome to Bishop John Flack, Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See. Ecumenical collaboration has been an integral part of this ministry to circus and show people, right from the beginning, not only in Europe, and therefore I am happy to have Bishop Flack here with us this morning.

Similarly, you know that the Churches and ecclesial communities engaged in this ministry have formed a Forum – Forum of Christian Organisations for the Pastoral Care of Circus and Carnival People – whose present Secretary General is Msgr. PierGiorgio Saviola, who is also the National Director in Italy. Our Pontifical Council has been part of this Forum as an Observer, right from the time of its creation, and I am happy to welcome Msgr. Saviola to this Congress.

Another international organisation with whom our Pontifical Council is collaborating is ESU/UFE (European Showmen’s Union), whose representative – Mr. Maurizio Crisanti – is here with us. Pastors are at the service of European showmen for more than four decades, and the presence of a representative of ESU in our Congress is deeply appreciated.

I also welcome the National Delegations from Europe: that is from Austria, Belgium, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and Switzerland; and from America: we have representatives from Chile, Mexico and the USA.

A special word of welcome to our speakers, first to Msgr. Bruno Maggioni, who is Professor in the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy, as well as in the Catholic University of Milan. He is also a well-known author of several books on the Holy Scriptures. I also welcome Rev. Dr. Sergio Ferrero Varela from Spain, who will be speaking on the circus and travelling show familes, and all those who will present their testimonies in the coming days namely, Little Sister Priscilla, Mr. & Mrs. Ravelli, Mr. & Mrs. Verner and Mr. Helio Castroneves, who is an auto-racing champion.

There are two groups of people whom I want to mention especially and to welcome: they are the National Directors who will be participating in the first Round Table Conference this afternoon and other persons who will speak in the second Round Table tomorrow afternoon. They are persons who are directly involved in the pastoral care of circus and travelling show people. They are from Italy, Dr. Antonio Boccioni and Mr. Flavio Colombaioni; from Germany, Mr. Marcel Schmelter; from Spain, Mr. Jesús Peiró Viana; and from France, Ms. Sonia Kiener and Ms. Marina Maria Muller.

There are also artists with expertise in different areas who have graciously consented to entertain us during our free moments, namely Mr. Flavio Colombaioni and his group, the Errani Brothers, Mr. and Mrs. Verner and others. To them and to all those who are associated with them, I wish to extend a heartfelt welcome.      

Last but not least, I want to express my great joy in welcoming Dr. Richard T. Caleel and Mrs. Annette Caleel, President of the Cedars of Lebanon Foundation,and thank them for the generous financial support to cover part of the expenses of this Congress. I take this opportunity to thank also the Bishops’ Conference of Germany for the financial assistance it gave for this Congress. 

I wish you all a very pleasant stay in Rome and a very successful Congress. May the Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, bless you and accompany you during these four days and always.