Inside a large white tent on the outskirts of Rome, clergy and volunteers shared a laugh with the poor, the homeless, refugees, low-income families and a group of prisoners, all gathered for an evening at the circus sponsored by the Vatican, Crux reports.
There was nothing if not enthusiasm for the pontiff among the 2,100 people on hand, summoned for a free night at the circus by the Office of Papal Charities. All permanent deacons in Rome were called to invite the poor or lonely and escort them with their own cars to the Medrano Circus, in Saxa Rubra, about a 30-minute drive from the city center
It’s an opportunity to “ease – even if only for a minute, an evening – our daily difficulties,” continued Baudo, affectionately called ‘SuperPippo’ by Italians.
“Young and old, of any ethnicity, sex and religion, we are all human beings!” said Barduo, now 81, the same age as Francis himself.
Nuns of the Missionaries of Charity held up their phones and chuckled at the gags onstage with groups of young immigrant men and women. That seemed entirely fitting, since it was Saint Teresa of Calcutta who famously said, “Peace begins with a smile.”
The Medrano Circus, owned by the Casartelli family, is celebrating its 150th anniversary and jumped at the opportunity to work with the Vatican on this cause. The entrepreneur Fabrizio Grandi and the Casartelli family call the initiative “Solidarity Circus,” which will continue every Thursday of January for the pope’s poor.
“In Rome I saw lots, too much poverty that wasn’t there before,” said Grandi.
Cirque Medrano 2017 / YouTube