— -- Pope Francis pet a tiger at a jubilee for circus and travelling show people in the Vatican today.
At the jubilee, the pope greeted circus workers, clowns, musicians and many other performers, as well as a tiger and a black panther cub.
Francis thanked the traveling performers for how they open their shows "to the most needy, the poor and the homeless, prisoners and disadvantaged kids," Vatican Radio reported.
"This too is mercy — to sow beauty and joy in a world sometimes gloomy and sad,” he added.
He called on churches and parishes to be more attentive to the needs of traveling performers, Vatican Radio reported.