Pope Francis on Thursday meeting with a delegation from the Special Olympics International in the Vatican, said they were “a sign of hope for all who commit themselves to a more inclusive society.”
This March the Special Olympics World Winter Games, take place in Styria, Austria and on Thursday Pope Francis met a delegation from the Special Olympics International telling them “you will be, as the theme of this year’s event says, a “heartbeat for the world”.
In a way, the Pope told those gathered, “at the heart of all sporting activity is joy: the joy of exercising, of being together, of being alive and rejoicing in the gifts the Creator gives us each day. He continued, “the sweetest victory is when we surpass ourselves – we realize what true and well-deserved joy feels like.”
Sport, the Holy Fathered noted, “helps us to spread a culture of encounter and solidarity.”
Together, he added, athletes and helpers show us that there are no obstacles or barriers which cannot be overcome.
Pope Francis told the delegation, made up of athletes, organizers and representatives, that they were, “a sign of hope for all who commit themselves to a more inclusive society. Every life is precious, he said, every person is a gift and inclusion enriches every community and society.”
This is your message for the world, the Pope underlined, “for a world without borders, which excludes no one.”
The Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 will take place between March 14th and 25th.
You can follow the Irish special olympians on www.specialolympics.ie.