Vatican City, June 11, 2022 / 8:30 a.m. (CNA).
Pope Francis on Saturday thanked an Italian army brigade for a year of service protecting pilgrims to Rome and the Vatican from attack.
“Every time you leave and return to the Vatican, on apostolic trips, visits to a parish or a community, I see you and give thanks to God for your dedication and your presence, a security garrison,” the pope told staff. military on June 11. in the Vatican.
He met the Sardinian Grenadier Brigade, part of the Italian army, and their families as they completed a year-long station in the Italian capital as part of Operation Safe Streets.
Operation Safe Streets began in Italy in 2008, when the armed forces were tasked with providing additional security against terrorism or attacks on important political and religious sites and at major public events.
Military men and women are also present at all hours of the night and day in several places near the Vatican.
“As part of Operation Safe Streets, you monitor sensitive areas and targets: institutional and diplomatic sites, airports, train and metro stations, places of art, worship and religious interest,” said the Pope.
He noted that their presence promotes a sense of serenity among the people of Rome.
“I like to think that your stay in Rome could have been a positive experience for human and professional growth, as well as a fruitful moment from a spiritual point of view”, he said, encouraging them to turn to the Virgin Mary “in times of weariness and difficulty.
“For my part, Francis added, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the discreet and important service that you render to the Holy See, in collaboration and jointly with the police forces, for the safeguarding of public order”.
“Your work in the vicinity of Vatican City helps to ensure the smooth unfolding of events which, throughout the year, attract pilgrims and tourists from all parts of the world,” he said. “It’s an activity that requires availability, patience, a spirit of sacrifice and a sense of duty.