VATICAN CITY, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Pope Francis applauded a group of circus performers who attended his first general audience of 2014, the Vatican said Wednesday.
Despite the cold temperatures, the group of 120 circus performers and 9,000 others came to see the pope in St. Peter's Square.
The performers are in Rome for an international circus festival.
Some of the performers, including the trampolinists, gave a brief show at the end of Pope Francis' general audience.
The pope, who conducted the audience in a winter coat and scarf, smiled and applauded the group.
"These people were great. Congratulations," he said. "I invite them, as they travel from city to city, to feel like messengers of joy and brotherhood in a society that needs these things so much."