On Wednesday afternoon, Pope Francis announced that another interreligious soccer Match for Peace will be held in Rome’s Olympic Stadium on Sunday, May 29, sponsored by Scholas Occurrentes.
Scholas Occurrentes is a worldwide project born in August of 2013, when the Holy Father handed footballers Lionel Messi and Gianluigi Buffon an olive branch of peace. However, its embryo began in Argentina, when the present Pontiff was archbishop of Buenos Aires.
The Holy Father recalled the origin of Scholas Occurrentes and said it was “not about religious proselytism”: He stressed his confidence that young people can do much, such as the 27 projects they presented in Madrid. “But I recommend that you listen to the elderly, because we have more experience,” he told them.
He also praised the capacity of youngsters to express themselves through art and, in this connection, a game is creative. He also pointed out the importance that education should have accessible costs, and he lamented the danger of taking advantage of the subsidies. Francis thanked all those taking part in the initiative and also those who started it and can no longer take part.
Present at the event with the Pope were the former Brazilian player Ronaldinho, his Costa Rican colleague Bryan Ruiz, the President of the Spanish League of Football, Javier Tebas, and the President of the South American Football Confederation, Alejandro Dominguez. Also taking part were six Spanish students from Madrid, three of “social pressure” and the other three of the educational system in addition to their parents and docents.
The episcopal delegate of education of the diocese of Madrid, Inmaculada Florido, said to ZENIT that “these students explained to the holy Father their experience in the one-week congress attended by some 260 young people in the La Salle School of the Sacred Heart in Spain’s capital. They reflected on two subjects, one group on social pressure: bulimia, pressure in the networks, etc. Another group specialized on the deficiencies of the educational system.”
At the end of the congress they made concrete petitions to the Archbishop of Osoro and to the advisers on education, social affairs and the family.
Scholas Occurrentes links technology, art and sport to foster social integration and the culture of encounter. It works with schools and educational communities, both public as well as private, of all religious Confessions, and it connects more than 400,000 schools and educational networks in over 71 countries of the five Continents, seeking the commitment of all social actors.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Reflections from players after the first Match for Peace: http://zenit.org/articles/athletes-call-interreligious-soccer-match-a-beautiful-experience/