Yesterday, Comitato Italiano Paralimpico Piemonte announced on their website that the Vatican will be attending a disability sporting event called “Believe to be alive” being held on October 5 and October 6 in Rome at Via della Conciliazione and Piazza Pio XII. Pope Francis will be in attendance for part of the festivities. The event is the first disability sport gala to be held in Rome.
Sportspeople participating in the event will have the opportunity for a private audience with the Pope, and athletes from around the world have been invited to attend.
Formal events connected with “Believe to be alive” will start on October 4, with a welcome speech by Pope Francis and the President of Comitato Italiano Paralimpico Luca Pancalli at Nervi Hall, in Vatican City. Following that, the Organizing Committee will formally gift the Pope with a ping pong table, and a one-on-one table tennis match will be played.
Sports represented at the event will include ones for archery, bowls, wheelchair basketball, canoe and kayak, deaf sport, rowing, sailing, sport for the visually impaired, sport for those with intellectual disabilities, swimming, tennis, table tennis, volley, sitting volleyball, winter sports, wheelchair hockey and more.
One of the purposes of the events is to show how Christian values can fit with sports. According to event organizers, in recent years as the profile of disability sport has increased, how people consider and think about people with disabilities has changed. They have a better and happier image of people with disabilities, and see a willingness in people to get the most out of life an having ambitions. According to organizers, this is a beautiful and genuine thing that fits with the message of Pope Francis and with the Catholic community: a love of life.