During the Angelus yesterday, Pope John Paul II sent his blessings to the upcoming Olympic games in Athens, and expressed his wishes that they will help bring peace to the world.
“In a few days, the Olympic Games will open in Athens. I send my cordial greetings to all official delegates, to the representatives of all nations, to the athletes and to all who will take part in the Olympics,” said the Pope, a skier and former outdoorsman in his youth.
“I wish as well to greet with special warmth, the City of Athens, remembering the hospitality with which the Greek people welcomed me on the occasion of my pilgrimage, which I made in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul,” he continued.
“It is my heartfelt wish that in this world – which is today troubled and sometimes overturned by its many forms of hatred and violence – this important sports event will constitute an occasion for a peaceful encounter and promote understanding and peace among peoples,” he said.
Recognizing the power of sport to promote peace, fraternity and understanding, the Pope created a new section last week within the Pontifical Council for the Laity, called Church and Sports.
Pope John Paul concluded by invoking the maternal protection of Mother Mary on the Olympics and on the entire sports world.