Pope Francis gave a special greeting to participants in the Race of Saints, promoted by the “Don Bosco in the World” Foundation, to offer the dimension of a popular feast to the religious celebration of All Saints.
“Thank you for your beautiful initiative and for your presence!” the Holy Father said on November 1, 2017, in remarks following the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on the Feast of all Saint.
“Inclusive Sport: A Look towards the Other,” is the theme of the “Race of Saints” on November 1, 2017, held in Rome under the aegis of the Congregation for the Laity, the Family and Life, and of its Prefect, Cardinal Kevin Farrell. Other sponsors include the Latium Region and the Citendeavor.
The 2016 edition attracted 7,000 participants. The race was preceded on October 31 at 2:45 pm by a congress on the theme, with the participation of witnesses such as Giusy Versace, who runs with prostheses.
The Competition, under the presidency of Paolo Scipioni is listed in the calendar of the Italian Federation of Athleticism (Fidal); it will pass by Christianity’s most known monuments.
The event consists of a 10-kilometer course for four categories of runners and one of 3 kilometers for the less experienced. Some can do the course with their dog.
Athletes and simple amateurs came from all over Italy to attest their link to their Patron Saint, or that of their parish or city.
The Salesians launched the idea in the streets of Rome on All Saints 2008, a “Race of Saints,” then in favor of street children of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Places of Saints are numerous in Rome, beginning with those marked by the presence of the Eternal City’s Patron Saints, Peter and Paul, but also the great saints that fashioned them, in particular, the holy Popes that embellished them and quenched them with their fountains, of saints who came from elsewhere and now rest there, such as Basque Saint Ignatius of Loyola; Florentine Saint Philip Neri; and Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, born at Ametttes in the Pas-de-Calais, France.
Funds collected thanks to the registration of participants will be allocated to works of charity. Therefore, it’s both a sports event – with true champions, marathoners, marchers – and a popular event.
The organizers were challenged, in fact, by the fact that All Saints is one of the oldest liturgical feasts, but which up to now has not inspired very festive popular traditions.
The event’s other objective, after its inauguration at Rome, is to go beyond borders, to be able to celebrate the feast of All Saints simultaneously in other cities of the world, announced the promoters.