| JUBILEE OF CITY POLICE AT VATICAN
|| 6,000 Uniformed Men Celebrate Patron Saint with Pontiff
VATICAN CITY, JAN 20 (ZENIT).- The scene was truly original: 6,000 city police congregated
in St. Peter's Basilica today to celebrate the first of the Jubilee days dedicated to a particular
profession. Throughout the year other professions will celebrate their own Jubilees, running the
gamut from day laborers to movie stars.
The police, men and women alike, arrived in uniform accompanied by Enzo
Bianco, Italian Minister of the Interior, as well as several Mayors and other Italian authorities. They chose this
day because it is the feast of St. Sebastian, patron of police. During the time of Emperor
Diocletian, St. Sebastian was chief of the Praetorian Cohort, and eventually martyred for aiding
The meeting began at 8:30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, when homage was paid to the early
standards of Italian cities. The ceremony was followed by a Mass at the Vatican Basilica presided
by the Pope, and concelebrated by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Papal Vicar for the diocese of Rome,
and Police chaplain, Fr. Luigi Malorgiu.
John Paul II came down to greet these men and women, automatically identified by Italians for
giving fines. "The city police offer a difficult but indispensable service," the Holy Father said in
their defense, "to insure the order of life in cities."
"Thanks to your work, dwellers of urban centers and adjacent territories are helped to respect the
laws that guarantee serene and harmonious life; thanks to you, disadvantaged people and minors
can find help in difficulties; the environment, public and private property are safeguarded; and the
very safety of the citizens finds in your constant preventative action a significant defense," the
At the end of the meeting, 40 policemen gave the Pope a wooden and bronze statue of St.
Sebastian, who was proclaimed patron of the municipal Police in 1957 by Pius XII.