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New Custodian of the Holy Land

May 20, 2016. Friar Francesco Patton is the new Custodian of the Holy Land. He succeeds Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in office for the last 12 years. Friar Francesco Patton is 52 years old from Vigo Meano (Italy). He graduated in Communication Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and until now was the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor in Saint Vigilius of Trent.

Pope plants a 'virtual olive tree' as a sign of peace

2014-03-21

Pope Francis met with leaders of the so called 'Scholas Occurrentes' initiative at the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta. Since the mission of the papal project is to promote peace, the Pope planted a virtual olive tree. As usual, soccer made its way into the conversation. 

POPE FRANCIS
"A short time ago, I met someone here at the Vatican who has a very important role in Brazil...It was a quick visit, but this person wanted to greet me. She highlighted one word: 'Neutrality.' Remember that the World Cup is ours. I said, 'Why do you say that?' And she replied, 'Last time the San Lorenzo team was behind, but you prayed for them and they won. So stop praying for Argentina.'” 

Ever since then hundreds of people have joined in this project, which promotes an international exchange of information and resources. Some have even planted their own virtual olive tree through www.educacionporlapaz.org

In an improvised speech, the Pope praised this initiative for helping kids and vouching for a better future. With high unemployment rates, the Pope said he feels the pain of those who are still looking for a job, adding that he appreciates the support of teachers, soccer stars and technology to make it all happen.

In fact, two huge soccer stars, Messi and Buffon, helped launched the program, so it's only fitting that soccer be a huge part of it. The next big event will be an inter-religious soccer game and the World Cup in Brazil will also be full of surprises. 

Also joining the project is FIFA, who will promote the creation of this network of schools which will facilitate the exchange experiences and information among students. 

ENRIQUE PALMEYRO
Director, Scholas Occurrentes
"The FIFA, which is the International Federation of Football and the FIFPRO, meaning the World Footballers' Association are joining in to help the project, specifically to help out these kids.” 

The Pope approved the project back in August, and he got a little bit of help from Lionel Messi and Gianluigi Buffon, soccer captains of Argentina and Italy, respectively. 

JOSÉ MARÍA DEL CORRAL
Director, Scholas Occurrentes 
"It's a way for all soccer players to say they are on board with the project and with the Pope's initiative. That was the underlining message when Messi and Buffon gave him an olive tree.” 

The idea is that through education and a cultural exchange, they can promote peace. 

ENRIQUE PALMEYRO
Director, Scholas Occurrentes
"The initiative doesn't discriminate against anyone, so Muslims, Jews, Christians, other religions and even those without one. Everyone is welcomed under this initiative.” 

JOSÉ MARÍA DEL CORRAL
Director, Scholas Occurrentes 
"We're vouching for all children so that they can all be included in this program. That includes those 60 million kids who are out on the limits.” 

Later that day, Pope Francis sent out a tweet to show his support for the project and for the very first time, he included the name of an organization in his tweet, by writing out 'Scholas.'


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