ROME — Pope Francis thanked the Italian military police officers who provide security for St. Peter’s Square and the surrounding area, recognizing the care and consideration they show, particularly to those needing extra help.
As they carry out their service around the Vatican, in collaboration with Italian and Vatican security officials, the Italian Carabinieri are “called to pay special attention to people who are frail and disadvantaged, especially the elderly,” who represent the “roots” and “living memory of our culture,” he said.
The pope made his remarks during an audience at the Vatican Oct. 17 with members of the Carabinieri.
He expressed his gratitude for their service to the Holy See and their patience with so many visitors and tourists from all over the world. It requires balancing all the rules and measures that need to be respected and being attentive and helpful to others, he said.
Even if their higher-ups do not notice their many small and hidden demonstrations of respect and service each day, God sees it “and he does not forget,” he added.
The pope encouraged the Carabinieri to remain true to their mission and to promote “a responsible citizenry, to help people be good citizens, to be custodians of the right to life, through their efforts ensuring people’s security and safety.”
“Everyone is loved by God, he or she is his creation and, as such, is worthy of respect,” he added.
The pope confessed to the officers that every morning when he goes to his study in the Apostolic Palace, he first prays to Mary and then goes to the window to look out onto the city and St. Peter’s Square, where he sees them.
“I greet you in my heart every morning and thank you,” he said.