The “Sediari Pontifici”, or Papal Ushers, following the Collegial tradition, the most ancient in the Vatican, in existence since the fourteenth century – were received in audience by the Pope in the Consistory Hall this morning.
The chair-bearers or ushers had the honour of carrying the Pope on an elevated chair during liturgical celebrations. They currently serve in the pontifical apartment, welcoming the Pope's visitors, and are present at the general audiences in St. Peter's Square and on all occasions when the Pope meets the faithful.
In his address, Pope Francis recalled that we are currently in the liturgical time of the Nativity, and emphasised that the mystery of the birth of Jesus “calls us to bear witness in our lives to the humility, simplicity and spirit of service that He has taught us”. “In your daily work too, you have the opportunity to emulate these characteristics of the Son of God, Who 'did not come to be served, but to serve'. Experienced with this interior attitude, work can be transformed into apostolate, a valuable opportunity for communicating the joy of being Christians to all you encounter”.
The Pope emphasised that during these months he has become aware of the ideals that inspire the work of the ushers: “love for the Church and for the Holy See, welcoming cordiality, patience, calmness and serenity of bearing, which constitute a fine calling card presented to those who visit the Apostolic Palace to meet Peter's Successor. For this, I cordially thank you and am indebted to you. I offer you my warmest wishes for peace; I guarantee my prayers for you, and count on yours on my behalf. Thank you”.