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 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 99 (Suppl.), December 2005



A Word of Thanks



Cardinal Stephen Fumio HAMAO

President of the Pontifical Council 

for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People


With the Papal Audience, later this morning, this Seventh International Congress of the Pastoral Care for Circus and Travelling Show People will officially come to an end, but there is one more duty, on my part, which you will probably guess. Naturally there are so many people that I would like to thank at the conclusion of this important Congress, though I cannot mention here and now the names of each and everyone.  

First of all I want to thank you, participants of this Congress - who have taken so much trouble, some making long journeys, others leaving behind important and urgent tasks, especially during this Christmas season - for taking part actively and with great attention in the various events of the Congress. I know that many of you are waiting to rush home to finish the Christmas preparations. You have been very patient, understanding and, I know, very appreciative of the Congress events and its manifestations. 

I hope you have benefited from the Congress for continuing your ministry with renewed enthusiasm, in welcoming the circus and travelling show people and making them welcomed with love and respect in your towns and parishes. Welcoming is the theme of our Congress, and this word has echoed and re-echoed in the halls and corridors of this building during the last three days. It is my fervent hope that this sentiment of welcoming will remain in you and in all those with whom you will come in contact in your ministry. I hope you have enjoyed your stay in Rome. We tried to make it as pleasant as possible, interspersed with work and pleasure.  

I would also like to thank the numerous speakers - though some of them have already left - for their valid contributions with profound thinking and practical ideas that will facilitate our ministry. Among them there are persons who gave inspiring testimonies and took part in the two round tables, that animated our Congress. There are artists and acrobats, who made us relax and smile in the evenings and during the intervals. I remember with gratitude our interpreters whose work facilitated our sessions. I know that it was not easy for them to stay for hours to assist us. We are very appreciative of their precious service. When I speak about the interpreters, naturally there are also the technicians who saw to the smooth functioning of the system. I also thank those who organised the liturgy so well, especially the choirs. I want to express my gratitude to Msgr. PierGiorgio Saviola and Fr. Philip DeRea for taking the trouble in organising the two evenings, which were very enjoyable. 

A special word of thanks to our benefactors – Ceders of Lebanon and the German Bishops’ Conference – for their generous financial contribution to cover part of the expenses of this Congress. I am grateful also to the direction and staff of this house –Casa Bonus Pastor – for their kindness and hospitality, especially those who worked behind the scenes like the people in the kitchen and other household services. 

Last but not least, I cannot end this list of people without mentioning Msgr. Anthony Chirayath and Sr. Alessandra Pander, and other members of the staff of our Pontifical Council, who worked for the last several months to make this Congress a success. I hope I have mentioned every category of persons. If I have left out anybody, it is not intentional. Thank you once again. God bless you. I wish you a Blessed Christmas!