(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a letter to the Refugee Olympic Team as they prepared to compete in the Olympic Games 2016 taking place in Rio de Janeiro, wishing each of them success in the competition.
Listen to Devin Watkins' report:
The letter – written in Spanish and dated 26 July 2016 – is addressed to all refugee athletes, calling each by name.
Pope Francis writes of his own research into each squad member’s life through their interviews with various media sources.
The Holy Father goes on to wish each of them success, expressing his desire that ‘your courage and strength find expression through the Olympic Games and serve as a cry for peace and solidarity. May humanity understand through you that peace is possible, and that with peace everything is a triumph; while with war everything is a loss.’
He closes the letter by assuring the refugee team of his prayers for them.
An English translation of the Pope’s letter is below:
Dear brothers and sisters Rami Anis, Yiech Pur Biel, James Nyang Chiengjiek, Yonas Kinde, Anjelina Nada Lohalith, Rose Nathike Lokonyen, Paulo Amotun Lokoro, Yusra Mardini, Popole Misenga and Yolande Bukasa Mabika:
I have learned about your team and read some of your interviews so that I could get closer to your lives and your aspirations.
I extend my greetings and wish you success at the Olympic Games in Rio — that your courage and strength find expression through the Olympic Games and serve as a cry for peace and solidarity.
Your experience serves as testimony and benefits us all. I pray for you and ask that you, please, do the same for me. God bless you.
(Devin Sean Watkins)