By Devin Watkins
As France prepares to host the 33rd Olympic Games in the summer of 2024, Pope Francis has sent a message to French Catholics to urge them to get involved in the sporting events.
The Pope’s message was signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and released on Tuesday.
Paris hosts the Summer Olympics on 26 July to 11 August 2024, along with 16 other cities across metropolitan France and Tahiti, an island within French Polynesia.
Generous and joyful openness
In his message, Pope Francis expressed his hopes that the Olympics may be ‘an occasion for profound and fruitful encounter between people from all walks of life, belonging to different peoples, cultures, and religions.’
The Pope said it should be a ‘joy to welcome the whole world’ to France for the Games, as well as a “responsibility.’
He invited Catholics in France to join forces to make the unique event a positive experience for everyone.
‘You will be invited to become volunteers, to open your churches, schools, and homes,’ said the Pope.
“Above all, open your hearts,” he added. ‘By the gratuitousness and generosity of your welcome and dedication, you will bear witness to Christ who lives in you and who shares His joy with you.’
Opportunity for fraternity
In conclusion, Pope Francis urged Catholics in France to find ways to help integrate “people with disabilities and the poor and marginalized into this beautiful festival of sport.”
The Pope said he hopes the 2024 Olympic Games “may offer the opportunity, through sport, to bear witness to an authentic expression of fraternity, which the world greatly needs.”
And he wrapped up his message by extending his Apostolic Blessing upon the Olympic organizers and volunteers who will take part in the quadrennial sporting event.