As France gears up to host the 33rd Olympic Games in the summer of 2024, Pope Francis has sent a message to French Catholics, urging them to get involved in the sporting event.
In a statement signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and released on Tuesday, the Pope encouraged the faithful to embrace the values of the Olympic movement and use the event as an opportunity to build bridges between people of different nations and cultures.
The Pope’s message emphasized the importance of sportsmanship, fair play, and teamwork, as well as the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect. He also highlighted the role of sports in promoting peace, harmony, and solidarity, particularly in a world marked by conflict and division. He said the Olympics can be “an occasion for profound and fruitful encounters between people from all walks of life, belonging to different peoples, cultures, and religions.”
The pope went on to invite Catholics in France to come together and participate in the coming event. “You will be invited to become volunteers, to open your churches, schools, and homes,” said the Pope.
“Above all, open your hearts,” he added. “By the gratuitousness and generosity of your welcome and dedication, you will bear witness to Christ who lives in you and who shares His joy with you.”
The Pope said he hopes the 2024 Olympic Games “may offer the opportunity, through sport, to bear witness to an authentic expression of fraternity, which the world greatly needs.”
The Pope’s message underscores the important role that sports can play in promoting peace, harmony, and solidarity, and encourages French Catholics to seize the opportunity of the Olympics to build bridges between people of different backgrounds and nationalities.