What You Need To Know About Pope Francis And Football
Pope Francis, like most Argentineans, traces his love of football back to his earliest childhood days. In Argentina, football and faith go hand in hand. Watch carefully and you see both the players and the fans praying before and throughout the games.
Pope Francis’ childhood soccer hero was René Pontoni (1920-1983), who played for San Lorenzo in 1946 when they won the national title.
The Holy Father’s home team is the San Lorenzo football club of the Bajo Flores section of Buenos Aires. He is a huge fan. The team’s wins and losses were a frequent topic of discussion with commuters during his bus ride to work as archbishop of Buenos Aires. Pope Francis has spoken fondly in the past of his childhood memories of going to games with his father and watching them play in Buenos Aires at the Gasómetro Stadium.
Formerly known as Club Atletico San Lorenzo de Almagro, this local football club was founded by Padre Lorenzo Bartolome Massa in 1908; he allowed young people to play on church property instead of in the streets.
Pope Francis is a card-carrying member of the San Lorenzo Club, having paid his dues annually since 2008, even renewing them last year after his election as pope – member (ID No. 88235) since 2008.
The San Lorenzo team proudly displayed “Papa Francisco” badges on their jerseys for the game against Colon, which happened right after his election to the papacy.
Papal football miracle? The San Lorenzo team won that game which was scoreless for the first 73 minutes, until Colon striker Ruben Ramirez put a deflected San Lorenzo corner kick into his own net to give the San Lorenzo team a 1-0 win. Football miracle? The opponent scores a goal for the new Holy Father’s team? The San Lorenzo fans, of course, credited the prayerful pull of their biggest advocate, Papa Francisco.
Argentina’s good luck charm: The national team during an August 2013 meeting with the Holy Father took a photograph with him. This happened a day before Argentina beat Italy in a friendly match. According to the news publication Diario Castellanos, the hope is that this photo will “give a message of hope prior to the beginning of the World Cup”.
Who is the patron saint of soccer? As mentioned earlier, you can see the players and the fans visibly praying both before and throughout the game. Pope Saint John Paul II is frequently called upon for intercession by football fans as he too loved the game all his life. Canonised by Pope Francis in April, John Paul II usually was the goalkeeper whenever he played back in his hometown of Wadowice, Poland. During his papacy, he often highlighted the importance of sports.
Popular quotes by Pope Francis about sports
“Pray for me that in the playing field that the Lord has placed me, I can play the game honestly and courageously fora the good of all.”
— Pope Francis on August 13, 2013
“Live your sport as a gift from God, an opportunity not only to improve your talents, but also a responsibility… I have confidence in all the good you can do, especially among young people.”
— Pope Francis, August, 2013.
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