Posted by: thebluemusicblog | October 7, 2016


The famous Swiss Guard receives us every morning. Residing in Switzerland, I find it so  appropriate! The conference for Faith and Sports is developing extremely well. It is a powerful and very positive message to the modern world about a holistic perspective on mankind, as we always expressed it in the YMCA – it is all about BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT. 

The signal from Pope Francis is very clear – he opens the Vatican for the modern world. The IOC, the Paralympics, Coca Cola, Allianz Insurance, Eni Energy, a multitude of sports organizations find themselves for the first time inside the walls of the Vatican. They are amazed, and we, who have been here before through ecumenical church chanels, are amazed as well to find ourselves in such exciting company here.

Here the Secretary General of the United Nations giving his blessing for the message of the conference.

And here faith leaders from many faiths and religions giving their blessing to the unifying message.

A news anchor from BBC, the well known journalist David Eades from BBC World, is the skilled facilitator of our conference programme.

His Eminence Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi gave a splendid input on the thinking of the Vatican behind the conference. “Challenge yourself in the game of life, as you do in the game of sport” is the message from Pope Francis.

Kirsty Coventry, Olympian gold medalist and world-record swimmer from Zimbabwe gave an inspired input.

Tim Shriver, Chairman Special Olympics International and Loretta Claiborne, Chief Inspirational  Officer of the same Organisation.

Sir Philip Craven, President International Paralympic Committee.

Maybe the most emotional and impressive message came from Maria Toorpakai Wazir, a professional Squash Athlete from the tribal regions of Pakistan.

Mel Young, Founder of the Homeless World Cup in football.

Clyde Tuggle, representing Coca Cola.

Faith leader representing traditional faith in Africa.

3 times Gold Medallist Johan Olav Koss from Norway, founder of Right to Play.

And then the Norwegian Minister of Culture, Sports and Religion, Linda Catherine Hofstad Helleland, who spoke eloquently about rights of young girls, among other important topics.

Stéphane Jaquemet, representing UNHCR.

HRH Prince Feudal Al Hussein, President Jordan Olympic Committee and member of IOC spoke inspirationally about his NGO for peace.

Alberto Puatti represented another sponsor, Eni SpA.

And if all this diversity was not enough, here I give you Ivan Gazidis. No other than CEO of Arsenal Football Club. As most big sports associations they do a lot of good social outreach work globally

The Declaration of Principles are being signed by the conference participants and they will be published together with the final report. Exciting to see the outcomes. Everybody want to reach a very practical level of action steps, and it has a real potential to unify us around a very positive message about Faith and Sports. 

St Peter Square has experienced  many gatherings of people through the centuries, and makes no exception for us. Sometimes it is raining cats and dogs and sometimes the sun is shining. The Square is the same!

Trying to get in? Or just plain maintenance. The wall of the Vatican Museum yesterday!

By the generosity of IOC we were again treated to a splendid meal inside the Vatican Museum.

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