Vatican City, May 24, 2019 / 15:42 pm America/Denver (CNA).
In an address at a gathering of 6,000 young Italian soccer fans Friday, Pope Francis encouraged the sports enthusiasts to play sports in order to build friendships and teamwork, as an alternative to surface-level friendships made through technology.
“Sport is a great opportunity to learn to give the best of yourself, with sacrifice and commitment, but above all, not alone,” the Pope said May 24. “Listen carefully: sport, not alone.”
The event, entitled “The Football We Love,” was sponsored by local sports newspaper “La Gazzetta dello Sport” in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, University and Research, the Italian Football Federation, and the Serie A League.
“We live in a time when, thanks to the massive presence of new technologies, it is easy to isolate oneself, to create virtual bonds with many people, but at a distance,” the Holy Father told the children.
“The great thing about playing with a ball is being able to do it together with others, passing it in the middle of a field, learning to build the action of a game, joining together as a team...The ball becomes a means of inviting real people to share friendship,” he said.