Pope Francis has sent greetings to the International Paralympic Committee and all the athletes taking part in the winter games in the South Korean city of PyeongChang.
Noting that the city recently hosted the Olympic games, the Pope said that major sporting event showed how “sport can build bridges between countries in conflict, giving a valid contribution and perspectives for peace among peoples”.
Sport is a school of inclusion
He said the Paralympic Games are a further sign of the way in which sport can help overcome disabilities. He described the athletes are “an example for everyone of courage, tenacity and perseverance”, refusing to let themselves be held back by their limitations. Sport, the Pope said, is a school of inclusion, of inspiration for our personal lives and of commitment to transform our societies.
Pope Francis concluded with a greeting to the Paralympic Committee, to all the competing athletes and to all the Korean people. He assured them of his prayers that this event may encourage days of peace and joy for everyone. The Paralympic games are due to take place in PyeongChang from March 9th to 18th.
'24 hours for the Lord'
The Pope’s words came at the end of his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall. He also noted that this Friday, in St Peter’s Basilica he will celebrate a penitential Lenten liturgy known as ‘24 hours for the Lord’.
He said he hoped that churches would remain open in order to welcome all those wishing to prepare for Easter by celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation and finding God’s mercy in this way.