Before speaking about how children benefit from sports, the Pope took time to bless a pregnant woman whose child may one day grow up to be an athlete.
"Bless the baby, Father.”
"When does the baby arrive?”
"I am 9 months pregnant. 15 days maximum.”
"What's the name?”
"Saint Catherine, Saint Catherine of Egypt.
The Pope said that education, sports, and work were the three ingredients necessary for children to develop full lives and avoid destructive behavior.
May 8, 2015
"The Church is interested in sports because it care about the person, the whole person, and recognizes that sports affects the formation of the person, their relationships, their spirituality.”
His remarks came during the Italian Tennis Federation's second International Symposium, part of which was held at the Paul VI Audience Hall in Vatican City.
May 8, 2015
"You athletes, you have a mission to accomplish: to be sound models for those who admire you, to imitate. You too-managers, coaches and staff-are called to give good testimony about human values. You teach that sports are always fair and clear.”
The Pope received a tennis racket as a gift during the event.
On several occasions, Pope Francis has acknowledged that he is a big sports fan, and he especially likes soccer. However, he recently admitted in a lighthearted moment that he was not a very strong player when he was younger.