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> 2013-10-15 15:34:16
Vatican unveils new focus on sporting events for Year of Faith
(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Council for Culture announced on Tuesday a number of new sporting events aimed at raising the importance of sports during this year of faith. These include the launch of the Vatican’s very own cricket team and a race that will take place next Sunday up to St Peter’s Square, where participants will be greeted by Pope Francis following the Angelus prayer.
Philippa Hitchen ran along to the press conference to find out more……
‘I have finished the race: I have kept the faith’ Those words of St Paul in his second letter to Timothy are at the heart of a number of initiatives announced by the Vatican’s Council for Culture in order to raise the profile of sports within the Catholic world. It’s not just St Paul’s sporting quotations either, since the New Testament is full of different words and expressions comparing our journey through life to a race or a competition, to which we must dedicate our minds and train our bodies.
Noting how last year’s London Olympics featured many athletes who spoke openly about their faith, Council officials have organised a 100 metres relay race up the Via della Conciliazione leading to St Peter’s Square for Sunday October 20th. Msgr Melchor Sanchez de Toca is undersecretary of the Council for Culture:
“We wanted to bring sports to the place where St Peter gave his confession of faith, to bring the attention of the Church on sports and to bring sports into the Church…
It connects the City of Rome with the Vatican ….I think it would be a very powerful image to see a bishop or cardinal in a track suit running….the Pope will greet participants at the end of the Angelus..”
The race features facilities for disabled athletes and commentary by well-known sporting personalities, keen to shift the focus from growing financial interests back to the more traditional values of sport as an expression of harmony between body and spirit.
But this race is just the beginning of a new sporting focus for the Vatican: also announced on Tuesday was a high level event for Olympic athletes in 2014, plus the launch of the Holy See’s own cricket team – watch this space for more details on who’ll be going in to bat and who’ll be behind the wicket