Vatican City, Feb 5, 2016 / 06:02 am
Sitting alongside soccer stars such as Ronaldinho and Bryan Ruiz on Wednesday, Pope Francis announced that a second edition of his 2014 interreligious match for peace will take place in May.
“I invite you all to the Match for Peace. It will be here in Rome May 29,” the Pope said Feb. 3 at an event organized by the Pontifical Foundation Scholas Occurrentes.
The soccer match is aimed at demonstrating “that we are capable of making peace with a game, with art,” he said, adding that he’s doing it “as a service.”
“One of the definitions of the Pope is to be the servant of the servants of God. That is why I am here, that is why I agreed to come,” Francis said, explaining that the intent of the game isn’t proselytization, but the good of the human person.
“I want to be very clear: what matters here is the human person. Man and woman have to be the center,” he said.
The first match for peace took place Sept. 1, 2014, at Rome’s Olympic Stadium, and was organized by retired Catholic soccer star Javier “Pupi” Zanetti, who was captain of the Argentine national team and of Inter Milan in Italy.
Zanetti, who had formed a close relationship with the Pope while he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, pitched Francis the idea of organizing a sports event that brought together members of different religions.