Monday, March 26, 2018

Greetings for the Police

At 11:30am today (5:30am EDT), in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father, Pope Francis received in audience the leaders of the Inspectorate for Public Safety: the Italian Police who maintain law and order in and around Saint Peter's Square and during his visits in Rome and in other parts of Italy.

Speech of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
addressed to the Inspectorate for Public Safety

Mister Chief of Police,
Mister Prefect,
Dear Employees and Officers!

Welcome to this traditional appointment which gives me an occasion to demonstrate my gratitude for the services tat you provide to the Apostolic See and to Vatican City.  I thank the Chief of Police for the courteous words that were addressed to me in your name.  And I greet each one of you, and wish you sincere greetings for Easter enlightened by faith and enlivened by the most beautiful and truest values.

This Inspectorate of the Public Security offers a precious collaboration in the pastoral ministry of the Bishop of Rome.  I am grateful for your vigilant presence and for the assistance that you provide during the celebrations of liturgical rites and numerous gatherings that involve the Basilica of Saint Peter and the entire grounds of Vatican City.  Moreover, the Pope and his collaborators know that we can count on your cooperation during our pastoral visits to parishes and other civic and ecclesial institutions in the city of Rome, as well as other pastoral visits in other parts of Italy.

Thanks to your discrete and effective work of surveillance, pilgrims who come from every corner of the world to visit the tomb of the apostle Peter are able to encounter the tranquility of this important faith experience.  You carry out this daily task by nourishing yourselves with civic and humanitarian ideals proper to the members of the Italian State Police.  However, your contact with the events of considerable religious and cultural importance as well as with priests, religious men and women and lay people enable to you to collaborate in the universal mission of the Successor of Peter, providing additional motives for your commitment and dedication.  In fact, the special conditions in which you carry out your responsibilities enable you to reinforce your professional dedication, drawing life and energy from the perennial truths of the gospel.  Bearing witness in this way through your daily activities to the human and spiritual values that are proper to Christianity, you also contribute to the mission of the Church.

The Vatican is a destination not only for Christians from all corners of the world, but also for representatives of various religions, for Heads of State and for highly-ranking ecclesial and civil personalities who come to meet the Pontiff, or his collaborators in the various Dicasteries of the Holy See.  Thanks to your work, these meetings allow for dialogue and visits testify to a culture of faith, which is maintained in Vatican City, and take place in a climate of serenity and order.

Renewing my appreciation for your cooperation, I entrust each one of you to the protection of the Mother of God.  May she support you and accept your prayers, presenting them to her Son, and may she be close to your families as well.  Your families are very important to all of you.  I offer a special thought for your families, especially for your children and, while I ask you to pray for me, I wish you Happy Easter and with all my heart, I impart my Apostolic benediction to all of you and to those who are dear to you.

The Holy Father then added the following unscripted words:

I wish to tell you something else.  I have been saddened on a few occasions when I go out and see that you are there at work.  I think to myself: These people should be at home, with their families ... But you are at work, caring for other people, for me ... I don't know how to thank you.  You are caretakers, all of you: those of you who are there, those who are watching out for us, those courageous people on their motorcycles ... you will be able to find work after you retire: you can go and work in the circus!, because you have marvellous balance!  The word that always comes to my mind is this: those people sacrifice themselves in order to care for the Pope, to take care of people, to make sure that there isn't a crazy person who will do something, or a massacre that would bring such suffering and even ruin to families.  And that word: to keep has come to my mind so many times.  I thought about the Custodian of Jesus, and this is the reason why this Easter, I want to present you with this image of Saint Joseph, the Custodian of Jesus, so that you can carry it with you and decide for yourselves where you will place it.  This is a gift from my heart.  But though it, I also want to express my gratitude.  I want to give it to your representative, Doctor Maiorino, who is always so involved in these activities of caring for others.

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