The International Sports Summit in September at the Vatican

The meeting on September 29 and 30 will be a new stage in the path begun with the International Meeting 2016 and the Document dedicated to sport in 2018. The Vatican Summit will bring together witnesses, athletes, coaches but also associations and representatives of various Christian religions of other religions. In the end, a Declaration will sign the commitment of all to promote more and more the social and inclusive dimension of sports activities.

Gabriella Ceraso and Emanuela Campanile – Vatican City

Cohesive, accessible and tailored to everyone: a sport that educates, involves everyone and leaves no one behind. This will focus on the International Summit that will close at the Vatican on September 29 and 30. An occasion that is part of the long history that has united the Pope, the Holy See and the whole Church with sport and its values ​​and that, in this case, responds to Pope Francis’ call on social importance, educational and spiritual development of sport, such as the Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, which promotes it in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Education and John Paul II. Foundation for Sport. The Summit will feature the participation of major sports and intergovernmental institutions and organizations, to highlight the importance of sport as a means of human, educational and spiritual growth. This event, explains the Dicaster, continues the path begun with the international meeting “Sport at the service of humanity” organized in October 2016, followed by “Giving the best of oneself”, the first comprehensive document of the Holy See on Sport published on June 1, 2018.

Three characteristics of the sport and a final statement

During the Summit, a Declaration will be presented inviting the world of sport to look to the future, adopting three fundamental characteristics: cohesion, accessibility and adaptation to each person. The first is to emphasize the need to reduce the gap between grassroots sport and professional sport, in the belief that the unity of sport is a value to be safeguarded and cultivated. The second is to guarantee everyone the right to play sports, regardless of their social conditions (poverty, migration conditions and refugee status, marginalization, wars, imprisonment, etc.). Finally, the third keyword focuses on the possibility that all people can play sports, even if they have physical, mental or psychological disabilities. The Summit envisages the participation by invitation of about 200 people from the world of sport (athletes, coaches, managers), from International Sports Federations, but also from amateur sports associations.

The Pope will close the event, shared with different denominations and religions

Also present will be representatives of different Christian denominations and other religions, as well as non-profit organizations and educational institutions around the world working for inclusion in society through sport. At the end of the Summit, with the presence of Pope Francis, participants will be invited to sign the Declaration with the commitment to promote more and more the social and inclusive dimension of sport in their own sports institutions and organizations. This invitation will then be extended to all realities of sport, starting with those inspired by the Christian vision of the person and the sport itself, participating in the online subscription. A graphic explanation of the logo and the program of the Summit with the currently confirmed speakers is attached, to which will be added sports testimonies that, with their own life experience, will explain how sport can be an opportunity for redemption, meeting , of inclusion, of fullness of life.

It will be a moment of unity and celebration, but also the continuation of the history of the Church in relation to sport, because in our microphones Melchor José Sánchez de TocaUndersecretary of the Department of Culture and Education:

Listen to the interview with Monsignor Melchor José Sánchez de Toca

Monsignor Sánchez, can you present this event announced today?

This Summit is part of a tour of the interventions of the Popes, of the Dicasteries of the Holy See but also of the Vatican Sports Association, which has splashed in recent years. Wanting history we could go back to Pope Pius X who organized a kind of modern Olympics here in the Vatican, in 1905 and then in 1908 and again in 1913. On that occasion the Pope himself said: “With this I gave a Of course, I don’t know what else to do but to start exercising … “, to say that sport is important. In that kind of Olympics, among other things, there was participation of athletes that today we will call “disabled”, which was a novelty for that time.In this the interventions of the Popes but also of the great educators from San Giovanni Bosco to Don Pino Puglisi, were constant: the sport It is important, it touches the hearts of many people and has an educational potential, but today another factor is added: to give a chance to those people who stay out of society, either because of a physical disability or because of a intellectual or relational disability, or because they are socially marginalized for poverty. they are refugees and immigrants, etc …

Let’s see the title of this is Summit: Sport for all, cohesive, accessible to each person. Can you give us an explanation?

“Sport for all” has become a kind of mantra for many. But how specifically does it decline? For this we have thought of three aspects. “Cohesion” means remembering the link between elite sport, which is a market that also moves a lot of money and is often at the center of not always beautiful dynamics, and sport for all citizens; then an “accessible” sport by making sport accessible to everyone is often costing families a certain amount of money, especially if you are marginalized; then “tailor-made for everyone” sport, that is, making sport possible even for people with physical, mental or relational disabilities. This is the meaning of the title.

We end with a word about the organizers of this event ….

The initiative began with the Department for the Laity, the Family and Life and the Pontifical Council for Culture, now the Department of Culture and Education is added and there is also collaboration, for some organizational and logistical aspects , from the Joan Pau II Foundation for Sport.

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