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Messi and Buffon launch new school network promoted by Pope Francis

Scholas Occurrentes is an international network of schools that the Vatican launched, supported by Pope Francis, to promote a culture of coexistence and respect between different cultures, protect the environment and to foster cooperation over competition. Lionel Messi is confident he can promote those values through soccer.

LIONEL MESSI 

Captain, Argentine National Soccer Team 

"Football lead me to many places, not just with the Argentine squad, also with Barcelona. Soccer is great and I think that it reaches the entire world. It's good that we lead by example in the field, because I think that soccer reaches all parts and that can be good.â? 

This project, under the direction of the Pontifical Academy for the Sciences, was inspired by a similar initiative that Pope Francis led as archbishop of Buenos Aires. The two soccer captains signed up the first few schools to the program. 

PROF. JOSE MARIA DEL CORRAL 

Coordinator, Scholas Occurrentes

"They are points of reference for young people. As a docent, as a teacher, I represent many educators who feel alone in Argentina, Italy and the world, knowing that what they have to do at times is not only difficult, but rather impossible. Yet we cannot throw the ball out because this game is about the youth, and so, for them and in their name, we will keep playing the game.�

Having Pope Francis near inspired the players to show their support with this new initiative, though which organizers hope thousands of schools worldwide will take part. 

GIAN LUIGI BUFFON 

Captain, Italian National Soccer Team 

"I think it's a special day because we are lucky to have a special Pope. I think that we finally turn words into actions, the things that we many times tell ourselves to do, but then never do them. I think that with a Pope like this: who shows us the way, who warms our heart, who shakes our souls, it can be easier to be better and to do better things.â? 

The new non-profit network is open to any type of school or educational center that shares their ideals. Registration is available through their website, and the participating schools will receive materials to begin educational and social activities in the classroom, as well as as to allow them to share their experiences with the other schools taking part. 

RCG/KLH 

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