"I ask circus performers of all latitudes who are suffering so much during this pandemic to bring their art, as soon as possible, to the places where children and the elderly suffer. Grandparents and grandchildren are the most frequent spectators under the chapiteau, and are unfortunately the ones who have paid a very high price. They are as thirsty as circus workers for an explosion of pure joy, such as the one offered by the circus. Those who are so nobly taking care of their health also need the cherished balm of laughter". So Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, in a message to Urs Pilz, President of the World Circus Federation, for the 11th World Circus Day, which will be celebrated on Saturday, April 17.
Unfortunately - he added - "The protracted emergency situation and bans on gatherings have threatened the very existence of the circus industry and its businesses, which often are family-managed, forcing them to go into debt in the hope of seeing better times. In order to protect this art, which has been performed in Europe for more than 250 years, bringing joy to adults and children, financial support is essential both by the European Union and by each country, who are called to protect the most needy as well as the most vulnerable economic sectors".
The pandemic reminded us that we are "on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other", as Pope Francis said on March 27, 2020 in an empty and rainy St. Peter's Square. Finding ourselves in this time of trial has shown us once again "that no one is saved alone" and that "in the midst of our tempest, [the Lord] invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering".
For this reason, the Cardinal wrote, "In order to ensure that this global suffering is not sterile but acquires meaning, thus helping us to prepare a different future, announcing a renovating change, the Pope encourages us to live it as did the Good Samaritan, a model to build real and new relationships with others".