Let the Games Begin!

Three years after the Pope celebrated World Youth Day with thousands of young people from every nation on the Copacabana beach of Rio de Janeiro; the city again welcomes numerous visitors from around the world for the 2016 Summer Olympic games. Over the past 100 years, the Olympic games have become a wonderful sign of unity and peace among nations, bringing together men and women of every culture to showcase the amazing abilities of the human person.

It is fitting that Pope Francis reminds us of this reality with his universal prayer intention for the month of August, “that sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world.”

While the commercialization of sports can cloud our vision at times, athletic competitions are meant to be friendly activities that require determination, dedication and respect. One example of this respect is at the end of each game, when the teams go onto the field to shake hands and congratulate each other for a game well played.

When competitions are brought into the international sphere, sports can take on a new meaning and even help build bridges between warring nations. Players can see the faces of those who live and work in neighboring countries and can help them have more compassion towards their situation.

As we watch and participate in the Olympic games this month, let us remember Pope Francis’ prayer intention and strive to make athletic events into an opportunity for peace.

Philip Kosloski
Writer and Content Manager
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA)

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