Rome, Italy, Feb 4, 2004 / 22:00 pm
At 28 years of age, Simone Strozzi had a successful career as a referee for Series A Italian Basketball, the most competitive in the country. However his true passion lies off the court and after a long wait he will finally be able to pursue it: he has left the sport to become a missionary priest.
Strozzi refereed his last game on Sunday, at the end of which both teams presented him with basketballs autographed by all the players. “It was a surprise,” he said.
”I want to place my life into the hands of Jesus Christ. This is his will for me,” said Strozzi, who has been a referee in Series A Basketball since 2001 and will now join the Congregation of St. Francis Xavier to begin his missionary formation.
According to the young referee, this decision is in response to a vocation he discovered as a child: “Already at 13 years of age I asked my mother to let me follow this path. But I have humble origins and I am the youngest of four children. The silent look on my mother’s face told me I should first help out at home.”