Pope recognizes Catholic Campus Ministry on soccer win

Diocese of Arlington's Bishop Paul Loverde reads a letter Thursday from the Pope's personal representative to the U. S. The letter is a papal recognition of the Catholic Campus Ministry's win in a soccer tournament. (Kevin Loker)

Members of a ministry group who represented Vatican City during International Week’s Soccer Tournament have another memento from their championship win besides a certificate: recognition from the Holy Father himself.

Catholic Campus Ministry, which represented the landlocked sovereign-state of the Vatican in I-Week events for the first time, received a letter earlier this month from Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Pope’s personal representative to the United States, after learning of the team’s championship.

Referring to the accomplishment as a “wonderful occasion,” the letter conveys the “warm greetings, heartfelt congratulations and spiritual closeness of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.”

The team beat Mason United, a group of players representing various countries, with a score of 1-0. The single goal was on a free kick by freshman Tyler Fabian, with about five minutes on the clock.

“Indeed, it is [Pope Benedict XVI’s] earnest hope that all of you will see in this event a challenge for the future: to expend your best energies each day in giving an authentic witness to the values of the Gospel and your Catholic faith, thus contributing significantly to the life of the Church as well as the community at large,” read the letter signed by Archbishop Sambi.

Before expressing Sambi’s own sentiments, the letter says that the Pope “cordially invokes the blessings of Almighty God upon you and your families.”

The community learned of the papal recognition from the Diocese of Arlington’s Bishop Paul Loverde on Thursday. The Bishop was in attendance at the group’s weekly Thursday Night Supper event, where during a mass, he administered the confirmation of six students as full members of the Roman Catholic Church.

After the event’s meal, Loverde read the letter to those in attendance.

“I tell you there are not many Catholic campus ministries who get such a letter, because really what [Archbishop Sambi] conveyed to you is the Holy Father’s blessings and good wishes,” said Loverde, after reading the letter to the crowd.

To Fr. Nassetta’s knowledge, the CCM has never received papal recognition.

“It was great for us to participate in International Week this year representing the Vatican, and awesome that the Holy Father has expressed his own personal congratulations to our community,” said Fr. Nassetta. “Often people don't realize that he enjoys sports and is glad to see young people using the gifts God has given them.”

A PDF of the letter is embedded below.

Editor's Note: The writer is a member of Catholic Campus Minsitry. 


Your rating: None Average: 5 (10 votes)
Student Media Group: