— Published 20 April 2023

Pope Francis blesses the OCOG

Unexpected. With less than 500 days to go before the Paris 2024 Games (D – 463 this Thursday 20 April), Pope Francis has sent a message to French Catholics to encourage them to get involved in the Olympic and Paralympic event. Published on Tuesday 18 April and signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, the message from the Pontiff was revealed by the website vaticannews. In it, Pope Francis expresses his hope that the Olympic Games will be “an opportunity for a profound and fruitful encounter between people of all backgrounds, belonging to different peoples, cultures and religions.” He suggests that hosting the Games in France is a “joy”, but also a “responsibility”. Above all, he invites the Catholics of France to join forces to make the event a positive experience for all. “You will be invited to become volunteers, to open your churches, schools and homes,” he explained.”Above all, open your hearts“. “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.” Finally, Pope Francis asked Catholics in France to find ways to help integrate “people with disabilities and the poor and marginalized into this beautiful festival of sport“. In conclusion of his message, the Argentinean gave his “apostolic blessing” to the organisers of the Paris 2024 Games and to the future volunteers.