VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Meeting with an association of traveling circus and street performers, carnival workers, musicians and magicians, Pope Francis thanked the artists for their dedication in bringing joy to men, women and children.

The “joyful vocation” of entertaining people of all ages is also a mission to provide “healthy and clean fun without the need to go low to look for material to entertain people,” the pope said during a Sept. 15 audience with Italy’s National Association of Traveling Performers.

“It is true: Yours is a handcrafted beauty, different from that product of the great powers of entertainment, which is a bit sterile, less human,” the pope said. “I confess that I prefer yours, which gives the air of awe, of enchantment and yet is the result of hours and hours of hard work.”

Commemorating the association’s 70th anniversary, Pope Francis acknowledged that the life of a traveling performer “is not an easy life,” often requiring them to go to places “that don’t always appreciate the social value of this type of show.”

“Do not be discouraged, continue on your path so that our cities and our countries do not lose the taste for this peculiar beauty through your presence, your art, your joy,” he said.

Recalling his meeting with them during the Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis encouraged the artists to continue being “artisans of celebration, wonder and beauty” so that, through their work, they could nourish “feelings of hope and trust” in others.

“God loves us and wants us to be happy,” the pope said. “Wherever there is simple, clean joy, there is his imprint. If you keep these values — this genuineness and simplicity — you are messengers of the joy that pleases God and that comes from him.”