Pope Francis gives 2,000 poor, prisoners a day at the circus


Vatican City: Tomorrow afternoon some 2,100 of Rome’s poor, homeless, refugees, prisoners and volunteers will head to the circus courtesy of Pope Francis in yet another act of charity for those who are less fortunate.

Tickets to the performance were provided through the Papal Almoner’s office, which manages the Pope’s charities.

The show, announced by the Almoner’s office Jan. 10, will take place the afternoon of Thursday Jan. 11, at Rome’s Circo Medrano under a large tent put up specifically for the event, which has been dubbed the “Circus of Solidarity” by the organizers.

A makeshift medical station will also be set up with volunteer doctors and nurses available for attendees who want an exam or a check-up. Each participant will also be provided with a sack lunch at the end of the show.

Pope Francis made a similar gesture in January 2016, when he sent 2,000 poor, homeless and migrants to the Rony Roller Circus for a special show that opened with a song written and performed by a Spanish singer who had once been homeless himself.

The Pope frequently speaks of the importance of the performing arts, and has held several audiences for circus performers. During the Jubilee of Mercy, he welcomed some 6,000 of these performers to the Vatican for a special Jubilee weekend in their honor, reported Catholic News Agency.

In a past general audience, Francis said those who are involved in circus life “create beauty, they are creators of beauty, and this does good for the soul. How much we need beauty!”

Since Pope Francis was elected, his almoner, Polish Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, has kept busy with several similar initiatives aimed at both helping and evangelizing Rome’s poor and needy through culture.

Showers and a barbershop were installed in the bathrooms of St. Peter’s Square in 2015 to help the homeless in the Vatican area to stay clean. They have also been invited to participate in several other initiatives, including concerts, a visit to the Vatican Museums, special lunches during papal events and beach days with a pizza lunch during the summer.

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