Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
People on the Move
N° 104, August 2007
Message to the Participants of
the National Gathering of Circus
and Travelling Show Ministries*
I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Reverend Father George Hogan, National Circus Chaplain, for his kind invitation, which unfortunately I was unable to accept, to this National Gathering of Circus and Travelling Show Ministries that begins today in Sarasota, Florida. I wish you all a very successful Meeting.
On this occasion, as President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, I would like to confirm the constant attention and friendship with which our Dicastery accompanies your efforts, and assure you of my personal participation in your joys and satisfactions, in your problems and concerns.
I am also pleased to extend my cordial greetings and a special word of thanks to His Excellence Msgr. John Francis Kinney, Episcopal Liaison, to the Reverend National Directors and to all the Participants, for their diligent and generous commitment of presence in the world of circuses and carnivals.
For some of you this meeting is a special one. In fact, it is the fifteenth time that you gather together to bear witness to the bonds of solidarity and welcome that unite this local Church to the circuses and carnivals. You have already clearly demonstrated it during the Seventh International Congress of the Pastoral Care of Circus and Travelling Show People (held in Rome in December 2004), whose theme - “Welcoming Circus and Travelling Show People. From Diversity to a Friendly Coexistence of Differences” - was inspired also by this Dicastery’s Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi. Indeed “welcome” is one of its key words. Moreover the No. 39 speaks of an authentic culture of welcome that Christians, above all, should be the promoters of such a culture of welcome, in which the authentically human values of those who are different from us are appreciated, above and beyond the difficulties entailed in living together with such people (cfr. Pope John Paul II, Pastores gregis, No. 69). The Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi contains also an incentive to ensure that pastoral care for migrants and itinerant people may be of communion, that is born from an ecclesiology of communion and serving a spirituality of communion (cfr. No. 70).
The specific nature of your mission makes you operators of the development of such communion, namely “to give each other something of ourselves, to give each other something of our time, to open our time to God. In this way anxiety disappears, joy is born, and the feast is created”. In recent years, your “giving of each other” has been concretely expressed in two projects that focus on perhaps the most vulnerable and needy people in the world of travelling shows - children and elderly. For the former you seek to provide the opportunity of an adequate education, whilst for the latter you want to ensure a dignified life with the Circus and Travelling Shows Retirement Project. Your generous service offered to them and your witness to charity of Christ, that through the broken Bread is given to those who accept Him, may help everyone to “recognize Christ's Face in the face of every human person, the heart of peace!”.
Now, we are beginning a new year of work. A year – as Pope Benedict XVI emphasised in his Homily on 1st January – that “we receive from God’s hands as a precious ‘talent’ to be made fruitful, a providential opportunity to contribute to bringing about the Kingdom of God”. I invite you, therefore, to continue on being genuine operators of “unity within diversity” and authentic testimonies of God’s love and peace in the world of circuses and carnivals, through the willingness that stems from faith, as well as from your relationship and daily dialogue with God. May the Holy Virgin Mary’s motherly protection guide and assist you on this journey.
With the best wishes, in communion of prayers, I am
Sincerely yours in the Lord,
Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino
X Archbishop Agostino Marchetto
* Sarasota, FL, USA, 11- 14 January 2007.
 Cfr. Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, People on the Move, N° 99 (Suppl.), December 2005.
 Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, 24 December 2006: L’Osservatore Romano (English ed.), N. 1–3 January 2007, p. 9.
 Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the XL World Day of Peace: L’Osservatore Romano (English ed.), N. 51/52 – 20/27 December 2006, p. 7.
 Pope Benedict XVI, Homily, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and 40th World Day of Peace, 1 January 2007: L’Osservatore Romano (English ed.), N. 1–3 January 2007, p. 3.
 Pope John Paul II, Message for the XXIV World Day of Peace: L’Osservatore Romano (English ed.), N. 52/53 – 24 December 1990, p. 4.