Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ address to the Austrian Skiing Federation whom he met with this morning in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall before his weekly General Audience:
I am pleased to welcome you to the Vatican today. When I think of Austria with its Alpine mountains, winter sports come to mind. Skiing is of great importance and tradition in your country, and there is a great excitement throughout the entire population when you support the riveting competitions. You are models, especially for many young people. But you are also models of integration, not only of sports performance, but of the virtues and values represented by sport: commitment, perseverance, determination, honesty, solidarity, team spirit. By your example, you contribute to the shaping of society. Always be messengers of the uniting power of sport and hospitality! And, returning to the natural wealth of your country, be messengers of safeguarding the environment and the beauty of God’s Creation. Thanks for your visit! May the Lord bless you all.