Audience with the Italian national football team, 10/14/2019
Yesterday morning, at 9.00 am, the Holy Father Francis received in audience the Italian national football team and the leaders of the Italian Football Federation on the occasion of the initiatives of the national team born within the bond with the Bambino Gesù Hospital and the 150th anniversary since the establishment of this institution. Also present at the meeting was the President of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, Dr. Mariella Enoch.
We publish below the greeting that the Pope addressed to those present during the Hearing:
Greeting of the Holy Father
Thanks for visiting! It is good for me to see your courage after a game: come here so soon ... We see that here there is "the mystic" [spirit]. Thanks. Thank you very much.
You have been with the children [of the Bambin Gesù Hospital] - I know - and there came out that tenderness that we all have, but many times we hide, it's hidden inside. But tenderness always comes out in front of a child, doesn't it?
When I entered, I saw, on the left, a painting, a fantasy about the creation of the world. When you go out, look at it. It is God's hands that give birth to a child. The artist thought that every birth is a creation. It is always a creation, even those times when creation is not perfect and there are the pains of children, as you could see during the visit, and you also know "the ABC", as a cross perhaps of family, sometimes . But they are the hands of tenderness. In language to understand a child and to get closer to a child there is tenderness, always. The only thing the child understands and that we in front of a child begin to understand: the language of tenderness. I know you were there with them. Thank you for this tender gesture. Thanks.
And then, the balloon [which they gave to the children]. You gave a beautiful thing. Don Bosco also said this: "How can children be happy, how to gather children? - at that time, in poor, abandoned neighborhoods -: throw a ball on the street and the children will immediately arrive ”. The ball has an attraction. I remember that there was a small square a few meters from my house. There we played, but we didn't always have a ball available, because at that time the ball was leather, it was very expensive. There was still no plastic, there were still no rubber ... There was a ball of rags. Even with a ball of rags, miracles are performed. And the children of Mozambique, when I was there, brought me a ball of rags. They play like this. It is important to have a balloon there, whatever it is, because they throw themselves behind it.
There is an Argentine film that has this title - "The ball of rags" - "Pelota de trapo", so in Spanish, which shows "the mystic" [the spirit] of what you [the President of the FIGC] has said, even with a ball of rags. A film perhaps from the 40s, well done, very beautiful, poetic.
I leave you with these two artistic works: what I said [the painting], the tenderness of God in the creation of every person, of a child; and "The ball of rags", the film. Maybe you'll want to see it. And thank you, thank you very much for this gesture, this gesture of great men who are capable of tenderness, of approaching a child. Perhaps more than one of you later, alone, cried. Maybe so. Tenderness always betrays us! One makes the gesture of tenderness and then secretly cries, because it is so! That's life. Thank you very much. They are gestures that do good, are gestures that bring health, bring health. Thanks.
And now I would like to greet you one by one.
Image Screen shot - Full Text (Unofficial Translation) - Source: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2019/10/14/0794/01632.html