Circus Ministry 2023 at St. Martha Catholic Church in Sarasota, FL


The Catholic Church has assisted circus workers for more than 100 years. We serve that international community of performers and workers that travel throughout the United States and present on more than 40 circuses in cities and towns for 11 months out of every year. We are part of a sub-committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Cultural Diversity and we meet the spiritual and personal needs of all those who “travel down the road without a zip code.” We provide sacraments, religious formation and a ministry of presence to this unique community.


We assist people of any, all and no faith and respond to the unique rhythms of circus life: births, deaths, tent blessings, blow downs, injuries, and season endings as well as baptisms, confessions, marriages, confirmation and the celebration of the Eucharist. Further, we seek to identify and address issues of quality of life on the road.


We seek to raise up lay leadership on individual shows for continuity and support and also try to care for circus folks “beyond the tent” by maintaining contacts through social media platforms and by initiating the mobile home park that assists needy retired show folks with an affordable place to live and the familiarity of peers in a supportive community.

The Circus Ministry is, according to its national chaplin, Fr. Frank Cancro, “probably one of the best kept secrets in the church in many ways.” That’s changing as the ministry is featured this summer by Circus World at Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Channel 6 News in Milwaukee reported with a feature that ran June 13, 2024. Read more here.

HIstory of the Circus Ministry

(click image above to open PDF)

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