Solemn Mass to Help Welcome Olympics’ Participants

ATHENS, Greece, JULY 20, 2004 ( A solemn Mass will be concelebrated in St. Dionysius Catholic Cathedral on Aug. 11 to welcome participants in the Olympic Games which open two days later.

“The Olympic Games are an event before which the Church cannot remain indifferent,” Catholic Archbishop Nikolaos Foskolos of Athens explained in a note.

“In the first Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, the Catholic Church contributed actively to its development,” said Archbishop Foskolos, president of the nation’s Catholic episcopal conference.

“The French Dominican priest Father Henry Didon coined the Olympic motto ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius,’ that is, ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger,'” the archbishop recalled. The French priest, he said, “organized a solemn celebration in our Cathedral of St. Dionysius in which distinguished Greeks and foreigners participated.”

The archbishop invited all priests accompanying the athletes to participate in the Mass of welcome.