INTRODUCTION: Pope John Paul's weekly public audience had a more colourful appearance than usual on Wednesday (4 February).
Trampoline act beside Pope John Paul on stage PAN TO audience applauding
GV Clowns doing their act
SCU PULL BACK GV Pope smiling at clown act, applauding. PAN to audience
NOT ON TAPE
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Pope John Paul's weekly public audience had a more colourful appearance than usual on Wednesday (4 February). The Pontiff and a large crowd of pilgrims were treated to the excitement and humour of the circus.
SYNOPSIS: The Vatican's public hail, normally the scene for more sombre events, was lit up with the spectacle of Italy's famous Medrano Circus. The performance began after the Pontiff's address in which he said "we must always serve the Lord with joy". The Medrano performers responded with a skilful display.
The Pope and his large audience were obviously delighted by the antics of the Medrano clowns and acrobats. The Pontiff told the crowd the circus deserved the people's thanks. He said their work was sometimes dangerous, yet through their efforts, the circus brought joy to everyone.
This was not the first time a circus troupe has performed in the Vatican public hall. But it was the first in the reign of Pope John Paul the second and judging from the Pontiff's reaction it will probably not be the last.
And for the Medrano troupe it was an opportunity to perform at one of the world's most exclusive venues with seating for more than 10,000 people.