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Priests invite tourists to a soccer match in the center of Rome

2016-03-20

When tourists and residents in Rome pass in front of the centrally located church of Santa Barbara dei Librai (or bookmakers), they are surprised to find this scene of priests playing soccer

It’s the 'Challenge a Priest', a challenge to cure initiative of the Legionaries of Christ, who have taken very seriously the Pope’s call for young people to shake things up (to make a better world).

POPE FRANCIS
July 25, 2014
"I want you to shake things up in the  diocese, I want you to go outside (and reach out to others)."

Shaking things up involves calling people to take part in a game with 11 points. If the priests lose, they have to pray for them. If they win, the other players must go to church, light a candle, pray and leave a prayer intention.

MANUEL REYES
Legionaries of Christ
"We thought of a way to find something to create some surprise in people. something out of the ordinary, to see priests do something they are not used to seeing, although which we do every week, that is playing soccer".

LUIS FERNANDEZ
Legionaries of Christ
"The purpose is to have a bit of fun,  but always to bring the Eucharist, Jesus, to others. My experience is very positive, and producing many fruits".

This outreach takes place once a month and is intended as a way to evangelize and to find vocations.

The priests presume that their opponents will usually always end up having to enter a church because they are almost unbeatable in the soccer matches. 

MANUEL REYES
Legionaries of Christ
"Actually we have an advantage because we know the field is very small, and it is difficult to get used to playing in such a small field. We have several years of experience playing every month or twice a month and so we know a lot between us on how to play well. Those who come, often passing tourists or young, have never played soccer in this way".

From now on you should probably get work on your soccer skills before walking around Rome. You never know when you may find a cure to that challenge of kicking a soccer ball.


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