During an audience with Pope Francis and the policeman of Italy, a young officer explained that his job is in fact a lifestyle of service, in which he is constantly attentive to the needs of others. Speaking with CNA, Matteo Gianerelli said that he decided to be a policeman “because my father was. He is an example for me, so I want to follow him in this job, which is not a job but a way of life.” Gianerelli was present during a June 6 audience with Pope Francis and the Italian police force, the carabinieri, held in honor of the 200th anniversary of their founding. Being a police officer means “to help people, the people that need my help” Gianerelli observed, adding that he wants “to make things good for everyone. So this is what I want to do.” “To strive to help the people, because in this job we help the people that are in need, that ask for help. And this is a great thing. This makes me happy” he said, explaining that “I do this job not for the money, but to help people.” Reflecting on the significance of having an audience with Pope Francis, the officer explained that “I like it, I like his words.”

“He’s a great Pope, a great one,” he added.  In his address to the carabinieri Pope Francis thanked the officers for their service, explained that there is a strong bond of “bond of solidarity, trust and dedication to the common good” between them and the history of Italy. Explaining to the officers gathered that “your vocation is service,” the Pope observed that their specific mission “is expressed in service to others and commits you to correspond every day to the confidence and esteem that the people place in you.” “This,” he said, “requires constant availability, patience, a spirit of sacrifice and sense of duty.” In wake of the long tradition of their 200 years of existence, the Pope stated that it is still “continued with serenity and generosity in your service, bearing witness to the ideals that animate you and your families, who are always at your side.” Pope Francis also used the audience as an occasion to announce that on Sept. 13 of this year he will travel to the military shrine of Redipuglia, located in the northeastern Italian province of Gorizia, “to pray for the fallen from all wars.” The occasion for the visit, he revealed, is the hundred-year anniversary of “the beginning of that enormous tragedy that was the First World War, of which I have heard so many painful stories from the lips of my grandfather.” Containing the remains of more than 100,000 veterans, the Shrine of Redipuglia is the largest military shrine in Italy and sits directly across from what used to be the graveyard from which remains were taken. Made of a large stone staircase, the shrine’s construction first began in 1935 and was completed three years later, being inaugurated in September 1938.