Pope Sends Encouraging Letter To Olympic Refugee Team

Pope Sends Encouraging Letter To Olympic Refugee Team

After months of planning, hundreds of headlines and years of training for the world's top athletes, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are finally here.

The spectacular four-hour-long opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium was a celebration of Brazil's diversity set against a backdrop of samba, bossa nova and funk.

One team is participating in the tournament for the first time, the refugee team. It is a team made up of 10 athletes who fled Syria, Ethiopia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo and now have no place to call home. The team represents the 65 million displaced people around the world,

Shortly before the start of the Games, the Pope wrote a letter of encouragement to the athletes, which we have published here and translated below.

Dear brothers and sisters Rami Anis, Yiech Pur Biel, James Nyang Chiengjiek, Yonas Kinde, Anjelina Nada Lohalith, Rose Nathike Lokonyen, Paulo Amotun Lokoro, Yusra Mardini, Popole Misenga and Yolande Bukasa Mabika:

I have learned about your team and read some of your interviews so that I could get closer to your lives and your aspirations.

I extend my greetings and wish you success at the Olympic Games in Rio — that your courage and strength find expression through the Olympic Games and serve as a cry for peace and solidarity. Through you may humanity understand that peace is possible, and that with peace everything is a triumph; while with war everything is a loss.

Your experience serves as testimony and benefits us all.

I pray for you and ask that you, please, do the same for me.
God bless you.
In brotherhood,
Francisco

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