Wednesday, December 18, 2013

“The Pope said he will come to Argentina in 2016”

Francis with members of the San Lorenzo football teamThe players of “San Lorenzo de Almagro”, the Argentinean football team Francis supports were received in an audience with the Pope this morning after winning a championship last Sunday. 

The team’s members said Francis plans to visit his homeland Argentina in 2016. 

Two events have been scheduled for that same year: a Eucharistic Congress and Argentina’s Bicentennial Independence Day (Chile and Uruguay also celebrate on the same day).
 
The team’s representatives, fresh from their victory in the Inicial Championship Cup 2013, came straight to Rome to give the Pope a replica of the cup. 

The team’s managers and some of its players attended today’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. 

Before this, they were received by Pope Francis in the St. Martha House residence for a meeting which lasted 40 minutes. 

“He spoke to us about his past, his family and about how he used to go to the stadium with his father,” the vice-president of the club, Marcelo Tinelli, said in a press conference in the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican this afternoon. 

Mr. Tinelli is a familiar face on Argentinean television.
 
The San Lorenzo de Almagro team gave the Pope the cup, a photo (dating back to 1964) of Pontoni, a player Bergoglio was a fan of as a child and a glove belonging to the team’s current goalkeeper, Sebastian Torrico, who managed to secure a draw that led to San Lorenzo’s victory on Sunday. 

A victory which was obtained “thanks to Torrico’s touch, the Pope’s touch and God’s touch,” Mr. Tinelli said. 

Francis, in turn, gave the players an icon of the Virgin Mary which will go in the chapel of the team’s home stadium.

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