14-January-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Benedict Meets With Members of Gendarmerie and Vatican Fire Department

Calls on Them to See Christ in All Pilgrims and Visitors of Vatican City

VATICAN CITY, January 14, 2013 (Zenit.org) - On Friday afternoon, Pope Benedict XVI received the Corps of the Gendarmerie, the Vatican police force, as well as the Fire Department of Vatican City State in an audience held in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. The Holy Father was greeted by Commander Domenico Giani, director of Security Services and Civil Protection.

The Holy Father expressed his appreciation and encouragement for the work they carry out "discretely, competently, efficiently, and not without sacrifice."

"Almost every day I have the opportunity to meet some of you in your various places of work and to personally witness your professionalism in collaborating on and guaranteeing the Pope's surveillance as well as the necessary safety and order of those who reside in the state and those who take part in the celebrations and events that take place in the Vatican," the Pope said.

Pope Benedict went on to remind the Corps of the Gendarmerie of their duties to kindly receive the Vatican's pilgrims while commending them for their "diligence and care" in carrying out said duties. The Holy Father went on to invite both the gendarmes and firefighters to see in every pilgrim and visitor "the face of a brother or sister whom God has placed on your path."

"Your task," the Holy Father continued, "will be more efficient for the Holy See and more enriching for you the more that it is undertaken with serenity and harmony. To that end it is necessary that the gendarmes, who for a long time have guaranteed their service within the Corps, and those responsible for their mandate establish, ever more fully, trusting relationships that can sustain and nourish all the members of the Vatican's Gendarmerie, even in difficult moments."

The Supreme Pontiff concluded his address by extending his blessing over them and praying that their presence in the heart of Christianity would arouse in them "the task of intensifying the spiritual dimension of life as well as the commitment to deepen your Christian faith, bearing courageous witness to it in each area of life with coherent conduct."

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