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Be Clear About Your Goals & Set an Example, Pope Tells Italian National Amateur League of Football Players

Also Reminds Parents Must Make Time to Play With Their Children

Always be clear about your goals in life…. 

Pope Francis, an avid football (soccer) fan himself, gave this reminder in the Vatican today, April 15, to the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti (National Amateur League) for Italian football, for its 60-year anniversary.

With more than 12,000 amateur football clubs, and some million young members, the league, the Argentine Pontiff reminded, plays an important role in Italian society. How it engages young people through educational work and training, “deserves to be appreciated and encouraged,” Francis said.

The Holy Father also applauded the league’s emphasis on promoting ‘fair play,’ involving respecting the person in front of you, and on encouraging friendship.

Reflecting on ‘playing,’ Pope Francis recalled that there are many adults who “do not have the time” to play with their little ones, and stressed this is unacceptable.

“Parents, dads and mothers, when they tell me they have young children, the first question I ask is: ‘Do you play with your children?’ And many times they say: ‘I have no time,’ ‘it didn’t occur to me.’ “Please,” he said, when a family’s ability to play with children is lost, a very important dimension is also lost.”

Francis also reminded them to recognize the importance of the example they give.

“Here,” the Pope stressed, “is my exhortation for you: Preserve within you the joy of playing, and spread it to those who watch you or cheer for you.”

Pope Francis concluded, asking God to accompany each one of them and their sporting journey, and asking them to pray for him.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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