News / Americas

    The Pope Who Loved Soccer

    In this March 24, 2011 image released by the San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer team on March 13, 2013, Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio holds up a small flag of the San Lorenzo soccer team in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    In this March 24, 2011 image released by the San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer team on March 13, 2013, Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio holds up a small flag of the San Lorenzo soccer team in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    Pope Francis roots for the Saints, not the Devils.



    The Saints of San Lorenzo de Almagro, that is — one of Argentina’s top five soccer teams. 



    The first Latin American pontiff grew up near the team’s stadium in Flores, a middle class neighborhood in Buenos Aires.



    This screen shot image released by the San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer team shows a copy of the club's identification card belonging to Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.This screen shot image released by the San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer team shows a copy of the club's identification card belonging to Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.
    x
    This screen shot image released by the San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer team shows a copy of the club's identification card belonging to Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.
    This screen shot image released by the San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer team shows a copy of the club's identification card belonging to Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.
    The new pope is a card-carrying member of the team’s club and has his own Saints jersey, presented to him in 2011 after he said Mass at the team’s own chapel. 



    Another religious man, Father Lorenzo Massa, founded the club in 1908, according to the team’s website. A year before, the priest warned a group of boys playing soccer in the street that they could get hurt and offered the church grounds as a field. In return, he asked the boys to attend Mass each Sunday.



    Midfielder Angel Correa is elated his team has a connection, spiritual or otherwise, with the new pope.



    “I can’t believe it. My veins are running with a sensation very hard to describe, but very beautiful at the same time,” he said in comments on the team’s website.



    Soccer is almost a religion in Argentina. The country’s national team is third in FIFA’s world rankings, the result of hard work and a lot of fans’ prayers.



    The intersection of soccer and religion in the form of Pope Francis, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is a blessing, according to San Lorenzo loyalists.



    Alejandro Maccio, the club’s top official, told the New York Times he hopes the pope’s connection to the team will “help more kids play soccer and get off the street.”

    

“He has been a great fan for many years, and we hope this will help us,” he told a journalist for the newspaper at the club's stadium this week.



    The Saints will need that help when they battle the Red Devils of Independiente on the field later this year.

    • A statue of a crow is silhouetted against the San Lorenzo de Almagro chapel window in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, March 14, 2013. The San Lorenzo soccer team is sometimes called the "Crows," after the black color of a priest's robe.
    • In this March 24, 2011 image released by the San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer team, Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio speaks at the soccer club chapel in Buenos Aires.
    • Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, third from left, poses with young players of the San Lorenzo soccer team inside the soccer club's chapel in Buenos Aires, March 24, 2011. Bergoglio was chosen as Pope on March 13, 2013, the first pope ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millenium. (AP Photo/Club Atletico San Lorenzo de Almagro)
    • Cristian Marcelo Reynoso, center, poses inside his home with his children, Milagro, 5, left, Oriana, 3, bottom, and Nahuel, 10, right, in their home in the Villa 21-24 slum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 14, 2013. At Villa 21-24, a slum so dangerous that most outsiders wouldn't dare go in, Jorge Mario Bergoglio often showed up unannounced to share laughs and sips of mate, the traditional Argentina herbal tea.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    Venezuela's Top Beer Maker Halts Output in Dispute with Government

    President threatened earlier in week to seize any plants halted by private companies and hand them over to workers

    US Reports Its First Zika-Related Death

    Puerto Rican man in his 70s died from internal bleeding related to rare immune reaction to Zika virus infection in February

    Rio Olympic Flame Visits UN Office in Geneva

    Flame, which was lit in Greece last week, was brought to UN for first time before it heads to Brazil for torch relay ahead of opening ceremony in Rio on Aug. 5

    Britain Foreign Secretary Visits Cuba for First Time in Nearly 60 Years

    Philip Hammond signed several cooperation agreements on energy, education and financial services

    In 'Papa,' Hemingway Returns to Cuba via Silver Screen

    Film about Nobel Prize-winning author is first full-length Hollywood feature produced on island since 1959 Cuban Revolution

    Victims of Chile Colony Hope German Documents Bring Justice

    For three decades beginning in 1961, the enclave of Colonia Dignidad, or Dignity Colony, founded by Paul Schaefer, was the site of torture, slavery and child abuse