The Pope Meets with Real Club Celta Football Players to Celebrate 100th Anniversary

On Monday, July 10, the Pope met with the football players of Real Club Celta from Vigo, as this Spanish sports club celebrates its 100th anniversary. The Bishop of the Diocese of Vigo was also present.

Jānis Evertovskis – Vatican

In his speech, Francis pointed out that sport is an opportunity and a reason to better discover and promote many of the values ​​of our society, but the meeting with the club from Galicia (the region in the north-west of Spain where Santiago de Compostela is located) reminded him of the stories of migrants who arrived in his time in Argentina and left a part of his heart there.

The Holy Father also pointed out the deep meaning of the footballers’ uniform and the emblem of the “Celta Club in the Kingdom”. The light blue color is the color of the Immaculate Conception and symbolizes trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary, while the cross of Saint James in the emblem rises as a banner of victory in the fight for life. This historical cross connects footballers with Galicia, Europe and Christianity.

In this context, the Pope emphasized the importance of roots, because they give meaning to our lives and works. We work a lot, we struggle, we want to be happy, to win, to prove our worth, but it is important to always stick to our “poetic history”, he said. Roots give meaning to the present. Athletes, both in the stadium and in life, make “small gestures” by working as a team and understanding that their victory is everyone’s victory and it is achieved with humility.

It is also about generosity, self-sacrifice for the sake of others, as well as understanding that competing with other teams helps to improve. A rival becomes a welcome friend when the game and life are in harmony. Francis added that it is important to preserve the amateur dimension in the game, because if it is lost, the sport becomes lifeless and purely commercial.

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