Tickets to the circus were provided through the Papal Almoner’s office which manages the Pope’s charities.
The show took place on the afternoon of 11 January at Rome’s Circo Medrano under a large tent put up specifically for the event, dubbed the ‘Circus of Solidarity’ by organisers.
Entertainment wasn’t the only thing on offer at the show. A makeshift medical station was set up with volunteer doctors and nurses available for attendees who wanted a check-up. Each attendee was also provided with a lunch.
Pope Francis frequently voices his love of the performing arts saying those who are involved in the circus life create beauty, they are creators of beauty, and this does good for the soul. How much we need beauty.
The Pope has held several audiences for circus performers. During the Jubilee of Mercy, he welcomed some 6,000 circus performers to the Vatican for a special Jubilee weekend in their honour.
Pope Francis made a similar gesture in January 2016 when he sent 2,000 poor and homeless residents and migrants to the Rony Roller Circus for a special show that opened with a song written and performed by a Spanish singer who had once been homeless himself.