Sara Carnicelli with2 Italian athletes Sara Carnicelli with2 Italian athletes 

Pope to Mediterranean Games: ‘Sport can create bridges between cultures’

Pope Francis sends a message to participants in the “Mass of the Nations” on the sidelines of the 19th Mediterranean Games, saying sport can help overcome the division caused by conflict.

By Devin Watkins

Several participants in the 19th edition of the Mediterranean Games took part in a Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Santa Cruz, in the Algerian city of Oran on 2 July.

Pope Francis sent his greetings to the “Mass of the Nations”, and urged the athletes in their desire “to give the best of yourselves.”

“The Mediterranean Games are a concrete witness of a type of sport which can act as a bridge between religions and different cultures, a bridge which is necessary now more than ever, as the Mediterranean often becomes a huge cemetery.”

The Pope said authentic sport is built on honesty and respect for other people.

By engendering human values, he added, sport helps us to avoid the tragedy of war.

Solidarity in sport

Pope Francis also thanked the organizers of the Mediterranean Games for inviting a small delegation of the Vatican Athletics, which is acting as his ambassadors to the event.

“Vatican Athletics bears concrete witness to the solidarity inherent in sport, through the welcome extended to young migrants and people with disabilities.”

The Pope concluded his message by encouraging athletes to help sport become “an experience of unity and fraternity.”

“It is with this spirit,” he said, “that I invited you to run together the great race of life under the maternal care of Our Lady of Santa Cruz.”

Mass of the Nations
Mass of the Nations
03 July 2022, 18:23