Dec. 1 - Pope Benedict stroked a lion cub and applauded circus performers for bringing ''joy'' to the world as he met with clowns at the Vatican. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION
Performing for Pope Benedict on Saturday (December 1) circus and traveling performers from around the world came together at the Vatican to celebrate the Year of Faith.
Some 7,000 people from over 13 countries including circus workers, street artists, bands, folk groups and clowns participated at the meeting, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Travellers.
The council includes delegations from three of the world's most prestigious circuses: the Moscow State Circus, the State Circus in Budapest and Bucharest State Circus.
"Dear brothers and sisters! I am pleased to welcome all of you, and I thank you for your welcome. You are gathered here today in such great numbers to meet the successor of St. Peter and to express, on behalf of so many who work in the traveling show, the joy of being a Christian and belonging to the Church," Pope Benedict said.
"What primarily distinguishes your big family is the ability to use language particular and specific to your art. The joy of the performances, the joy of recreational play, the grace of the choreography and the rhythm of the music are an immediate way of communication; to have dialogue with the small and the large, arousing feelings of serenity, joy and harmony. With the variety of your professions and originality of your performances, you know how to amaze and inspire wonder, offering opportunities for celebration and healthy fun," the Pope added.
The Pope was also introduced to a young lion cub.
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