Pope receives Corps of Gendarmerie
On Friday evening in the Sala Clementina in the Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict XVI received in audience the Corps of Gendarmerie – the police and security force of Vatican City State.
The Holy Father granted the audience in order to offer his encouragement and express his gratitude after a particularly challenging period for the Papal Gendarmes.
In his remarks, the Pope said, “This occasion gives me the opportunity to express my profound feelings of respect, my heartfelt encouragement, and my deep gratitude for the generous service you perform with discretion, competence, and efficiency, and not without sacrifice.”
He noted, “Among its other duties, the Gendarmerie is called to greet with courtesy and kindness the many pilgrims and visitors to the Vatican, who come from Rome, from Italy and all over the world. . . . In every pilgrim or visitor, you know you must see the face of a brother or sister that God has placed in your path, and therefore receive them with kindness and help them, knowing that each one is a part of the great human family.”
Pope Benedict continued, “Dear Gendarmes and Firefighters, your special place in the heart of Christendom, where crowds of faithful come tirelessly to meet the Successor of Peter and to visit the tombs of the Apostles, arouses more and more in each of you the ambition to intensify the spiritual dimension of life, as well as the commitment to deepen your Christian faith, bearing courageous witness in every circumstance with a consistent way of life.” To that end, he said, the Year of Faith can be a tremendous help: “it is a privileged occasion for rediscovering how much joy there is in believing and communicating to others that the saving and liberating encounter with God realizes the deepest aspirations of man, his desires for peace, for brotherhood, and for love.”
The Pope concluded his remarks with a renewed expression of his “sincere and affectionate thanks” for the work of the Gendarmerie and the Vatican Fire Department, and granted to all those gathered, and to their families, the Apostolic Blessing.