“Athletes testify human potential,” says Pope Francis in a private audience
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Pope Francis met in a private audience on Saturday with all the international delegates who participated in the Annual Congress of the European Union Cycling (UEC), which this year was a historic one because it was merged with that of the African Cycling Confederation (CAC).
For this audience, which was held in the Clementina Hall, one of the Apostolic Palace halls near the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican City, were among others John Zammit and Gozitan Joe Bajada, President and Secretary General of the Malta Cycling Federation.
All delegates present had the chance to shake hands with His Holiness, while Gozitan Joe Bajada was also so lucky to change the white zucchetto with Pope Francis.
“The human potential is created in the image and the similarity of God.” This was the core message of Pope Francis made during the private audience.
Pope Francis noted the strong relationship between sport and the Church that has a long history, which has become ever stronger over time.
His Holiness said, “sport can be a great help to the human development of all, encouraging them to give of their best, as they seek to attain certain goal. This is because sport teaches perseverance, sacrifice, and self-denial. We can think, for example, of the long and demanding training or the observance of a strict discipline of life.”
“The practice of a sport also teaches us not to be discouraged and to start again with determination after a defeat or injury.” Pope Francis concluded by saying that “sport often becomes an opportunity to express with enthusiasm the joy of living and the true satisfaction of having crossed the finishing line.”