Salesians Affirm: Soccer Needs a Patron

Journalist Proposes Don Bosco for the Role

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VIENNA, Austria, JULY 21, 2010 ( In the wake of the FIFA World Cup, which ended July 11, it has been pointed out that soccer as a sport lacks a patron.

Journalist Albert Christian Sellner suggested in the Austrian paper, «Der Standard,» that St. John Bosco would be a good candidate for the role.

Sellner noted that in the international soccer tournament, even though FIFA prohibited the use of religious symbols and gestures, many athletes were seen publicly expressing their faith.

He pointed out that Diego Maradona, manager of the Argentine national team, was often seen with his rosary as the games were being played.

The Salesian News Agency picked up on this proposal to have Don Bosco, founder of the congregation, named as the patron of soccer.

In a July 13 article, it noted that St. John Bosco is associated with the characteristics of soccer: «youth, friendship, artistic skill and celebration.»

It affirmed that the saint often «roamed the streets of the city looking for boys and a suitable place to gather them together, demonstrating all his own personal skills in games, artistry and creativity which helped him in his mission of education.»

Thus, as Sellner stated, «At his death over 200,000 youngsters had enjoyed the benefits of his friendship.»

The journalist affirmed that Benedict XVI «would have the chance of making a mark in the world of soccer» by proclaiming Don Bosco as its patron.

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