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Paris Olympic Games a place for mission

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The countdown to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games is down to just over two months. And the Vatican’s Dicastery for Culture and Education joined the Embassy of France to the Holy See to launch a program prepping for the biggest international sporting event in the world.

“So the real focus here is how do we approach the summer 2024 Paris Olympics?” asked Bishop John Barres form the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York.

“How does the Catholic Church with a bold and humble missiology and spirit of Catholic evangelisation address the World Cup, the World Series, the Tour de France, the Boston Marathon, the Super Bowl, March Madness?”

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The Ambassador of France to the Holy See, Florence Mangina, explained the church’s role in promoting the spirit of the Olympic Games.

“In the current context of wars tearing our world apart, Olympism is first and foremost a message of peace, and the commitment of the universal church, like that of France, is essential. The church’s role in promoting Olympism is well known.”

In Rome, cardinals joined sports chaplains and former Olympians to discuss how faith and sports are intertwined.

Bishop Barres stressed the importance of combining athletics with faith as a way of keeping people grounded, even after their athletic career is over.

“We all know the dark side of the global sports world. We see now Pope Francis talks about throwaway culture. We see that with athletes, they might obtain incredible celebrity status.

“They may be making big salaries, but after a certain time, they fade away. And so, it’s so important that the truths of the Catholic Church, the truths of Jesus Christ are shared in the global mission field of the global sports world.”

This summer, more than 10,000 athletes will participate in 32 sports at the highest level in the world.

In his message to the conference participants, Pope Francis challenged everyone to keep the “amateur” spirit of sports, which keeps them genuine.

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