May the World Cup be a 'feast of solidarity,' Pope exhorts

Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square for the Italian Sporting Center's celebration of sports June 7, 2014. Credit Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

In a video message Pope Francis sent for the start of the World Cup, he outlined the importance of good sportsmanship, stating that this attitude helps in building a more peaceful society.

“My hope is that, in addition to the feast of sports, this World Cup becomes the feast of solidarity between peoples,” the Roman Pontiff stated in his June 12 video message.

Aired on Brazilian television stations, the Pope’s address was read in Portuguese to honor of the country where the games are taking place, beginning today with a match between Brazil and Croatia, and concluding with the final game July 13.

Beginning his address, the Pope greeted “with great joy” all “lovers of soccer” and offered a warm salutation to the organizers of the event, as well as all those who will both participate in and watch the games, either in person or elsewhere.

Expressing his hope that the event will be a “feast of solidarity between peoples,” the pontiff explained that in order for this to happen, “the soccer competitions must be considered for what they are based on.”

“A game and at the same time an opportunity for dialogue, understanding and reciprocal human enrichment.”

This sport, he said, “is not only a form of entertainment, but also – and above all I would say – a tool to communicate values, promote the good of the human person and help build a more peaceful and fraternal society.”

Observing how there are “many values and attitudes fostered by soccer that are important not only on the field, but in all aspects of life, specifically in peace building,” Pope Francis invited listeners to think about the values of “loyalty, perseverance, friendship, sharing, solidarity.”

“Sport is a school of peace,” he noted, “it teaches us to build peace.”

Going on, the Bishop of Rome drew attention to the different lessons we learn in sports that can help to foster peace, stating that “three essential attitudes” are “the need to ‘train,’ ‘fair play’ and honor among competitors.”

“Sport teaches us that in order to win, you have to train,” he stated, pointing out that “by playing sports, we can see a metaphor of our lives.”

“In life, you have to fight, to ‘train,’ to strive in order to obtain important results,” therefore sportsmanship “becomes an image of the necessary sacrifices in order to grow in the virtues that build the character of a person.”

Bringing attention to the importance playing fair, the Roman Pontiff explained that in sports we need to learn “what ‘fair play’ in soccer has to teach us.”

“To play in a team, it is necessary to consider first the good of the group, not on one’s self,” the Pope observed, stating that “In order to win, it is necessary to overcome individualism, selfishness and all forms of racism, intolerance and instrumentalization of the human person.”

“It isn’t only in soccer that being ‘greedy’ is an obstacle to the success of the team,” he noted, “because when we are ‘greedy’ in life, ignoring the people around us, the whole society is harmed.”

A final element of sports that helps us to foster peace “is to have honor among competitors,” the pontiff said, adding that “The secret of victory in the field, but also in life, is to learn to respect the colleagues of your team, but also your opponent.”

“No one wins alone, neither in the field nor in life! Let no one feel excluded or isolated!”

Concluding his message, Pope Francis prayed that the World Cup 2014 will “take place with complete serenity and tranquility, always with mutual respect, solidarity and brotherhood among men and women who recognize themselves as members of the same family.”


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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