06 Jul

“We are now coming into the last week of the football [soccer] World Cup in Brazil. Many of us will be disappointed that England did not get through to the knockout stage, but some of you might be very happy that the team from your home country is still in with a chance of winning the World Cup.

Pope Francis sent a video message to Brazil and this was shown on Brazilian television preceding the opening ceremony of the World Cup. Here are some of the Pope’s words.

‘It is with great joy that I address you, lovers of football, on the occasion of the opening of the 2014 World Cup. I would like to send a cordial greeting to the organisers and the participants; to every athlete and every fan, as well as to all the spectators who will follow the event in the stadiums and on television, the radio and internet, an event which crosses language, cultural and national barriers…

Think of loyalty, perseverance, friendship, sharing, and solidarity. There are, in fact, many values and attitudes which football promotes and which prove to be important not only on the field but in all fields of existence, and specifically in building peace. Sport is a school of peace, it teaches us how to build peace. In this sense, I would like to point out three lessons for practising sports, three fundamental attitudes for the cause of peace: the need to ‘train’, fair play, and respect for the opponent…

The lesson for sports which bears the fruit of peace is the respect deserved by our opponents. The secret to winning on the field, and also in life, is to respect my teammates and also my opponent. No one wins by himself, not on the field or in life!…

And if it is true that in the end of the tournament only one national team will win the Cup, likewise, it is also true that, by learning the lessons that sports teach us, we will all be winners, strengthening the bonds that tie us together.”
– From: Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/July 2014


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