To understand the Gospel, its beauty and its power, people need to read it, Pope Francis said.

"I invite you to rediscover the beauty and ever-new strength of the Gospel," he told employees, directors and agents of the Inspectorate for Public Security at the Vatican, a special branch of the Italian police force.

"The power of the Gospel. To understand the Gospel, it must be read," he said in an audience with the group Jan. 12.

Pope Francis asked the officers to let the Gospel message "enter incisively in your consciences and lives by courageously witnessing to God's love in every environment, including the workplace."

The special branch of the Italian police provides for the pope's security whenever he is outside Vatican City, and they provide security and law enforcement in St. Peter's Square and the Vatican Museums' entrance area, which are both Italian territory.

The pope thanked them for their "generous commitment on the occasion of my travels in the city of Rome and on pastoral visits to Italy."

However, he added, "I am ashamed to trouble you so much, I would like to go alone … but thank you! It must be done."

The pope said the service they render "can be a sign of God's closeness" to the people they encounter every day "and who await a gesture of kindness and welcome from you."

"This is a concrete way of being peacemakers, 'artisans' of peace," by welcoming, listening to and helping people with kindness, he said. The world needs "people who work for peace not with fine words, but with deeds, carefully carrying out their duty in the service of the common good!"