The Vatican’s charity office has invited around 2,000 poor and marginalized people to a circus performance in Rome on Saturday.
“Making it possible to participate in this performance is a way to give a few hours of contentment to those who are confronted with a hard life and need help to nurture hope,” Pope Francis’ almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, said this week in an announcement about the initiative.
The Vatican said volunteers, including sisters from the Missionaries of Charity, will accompany the circus guests, some of whom are homeless and either living on the streets or in a shelter.
Prisoners, refugees, and families with children from Ukraine, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan were also invited, together with several families living in some of Rome’s illegally occupied apartment buildings.
A circus performance, Krajewski said, paraphrasing Pope Francis, “puts us in contact with the beauty that always lifts us up, and makes us look beyond … it is a way to go to the Lord.”
“The show also reminds us that, behind this art and beauty, there are hours and hours of training, sacrifices, in order to reach the finish line,” the cardinal said. “The circus performers are confirmation that perseverance can make the impossible possible.”
The big top of the Rony Roller Circus is located about 3.5 miles west of the Vatican. The show, which has received glowing reviews, includes musical performances, clowns, trapeze artists, animal tamers, and jugglers.
One online reviewer called the performance “a shining example” of “the greatest show on earth,” and “an event not to be missed.”