20-January-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Thanks Italian Security Officials for Service During Conclave

Praises Them for Ensuring Vatican Remains a Sacred and Universal Place

VATICAN CITY, January 20, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Pope Francis today expressed his appreciation for Italian security officers who protect the Pope on visits to Italian territory and guard St. Peter's Square.

Addressing workers and agents of the General Inspectorate for Public Security, he said all are aware of the need to "guarantee the protection of the special characteristics of this unique place, ensuring its nature as a sacred and universal space."

"This requires a discreet but attentive vigilance," he added, and gave them special thanks for their work in St. Peter's Square where people "are serene", one is "able to move calmly" and it's possible to "appreciate a feeling of peace".

The General Inspectorate is an entity within the Italian police force, responsible for the protection of the pontiff during his visits within Italian territory and vigilance in St. Peter's Square, in agreement with the authorities of the Holy See.

The Holy Father also referred to the work carried out by officers during events attended by large numbers of faithful, who come from all over the world to see the Pope or to pray before the tomb of St. Peter or those of his successors, "especially those of John XXIII and John Paul II".

It is a task that requires "technical and professional preparation, along with careful vigilance, politeness and dedication," he said. "Pilgrims and tourists, as well as those who work in the various offices of the Holy See, know that they are able to count on your cordial assistance".

The Pope also made a point of thanking them for their work during the days preceding the conclave following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. And he took the opportunity to renew his sincere thanks, and those of his collaborators, to those who "offered their contribution to ensuring that everything took place with order and calm".

The Pope closed by wishing the officers find in their work "an opportunity for growth in faith."

"Faith is the most valuable treasure that your families have entrusted to you, and that you are called upon to transmit to your children," he said. "It is important to rediscover the message of the Gospel and to welcome it in the depths of your own conscience and in the reality of everyday life, witnessing God's love with courage in every environment, including the workplace".

The General Inspectorate will be playing a key role in safeguarding security during the canonizations of Blessed Popes John XXIII and John Paul II on April 27th.

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