VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The athletes of the Special Olympics witness to the world the beauty and value of every human life and the joy that comes from reaching a goal with the encouragement and support of others, Pope Francis said.
“Together, athletes and helpers show us that there are no obstacles or barriers which cannot be overcome,” the pope told representatives of the Special Olympics World Winter Games, which will take place in Austria March 14-25.
“You are a sign of hope for all who commit themselves to a more inclusive society,” the pope told the group Feb. 16. “Every life is precious, every person is a gift, and inclusion enriches every community and society. This is your message for the world, for a world without borders, which excludes no one.”
Pope Francis praised the passion and dedication of the Special Olympians as they train for their events, and said sports are good for everyone, physically and mentally.
“The constant training, which also requires effort and sacrifice, helps you to grow in patience and perseverance, gives you strength and courage and lets you acquire and develop talents which would otherwise remain hidden,” the pope told the athletes.
“In a way,” he said, “at the heart of all sporting activity is joy: the joy of exercising, of being together, of being alive and rejoicing in the gifts the Creator gives us each day. Seeing the smile on your faces and the great happiness in your eyes when you have done well in an event — for the sweetest victory is when we surpass ourselves — we realize what true and well-deserved joy feels like!”
Watching the Special Olympians, he said, everyone should learn “to enjoy small and simple pleasures, and to enjoy them together.”
Sporting events, especially international events like the Special Olympics World Winter Games, help “spread a culture of encounter and solidarity,” the pope said, wishing the athletes “joyful days together and time with friends from around the world.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: God will ask an account for blood spilled in today’s wars, pope says
NEXT: After years in war zone, burnout rises among those who serve Syrians
Share this story