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Pope Francis inspires a soccer team and album in Argentina

Team dreams big, first division and own stadium

18 February, 19:59
Pope Francis inspires a soccer team and album in Argentina (By Francesca Ambrogetti) (ANSA) - Buenos Aires, February 17 - The pope and soccer - nearly a year after the election of Pope Francis, there's no end to the affinity in sight. Buenos Aires has given birth to a new team: the Pope Francis Sports Club.

The jersey is white and yellow like the Vatican flag; and the symbol is the radiant cross of Caritas - it couldn't be otherwise. The idea for the team came to a group of boys in Quilmes, a crowded neighborhood in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.

The club president and ex-player of Boca Juniors - one of Argentina's leading pro-football teams - explained how "Francis' team" came about. Ramirez underlines that it all started during the pope's trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. "Watching television with a group of friends we said that Francis represented what we wanted to do for ourselves. And we weren't just talking about soccer, but to help neighborhood people and pull kids off the street".

The Pope Francis Sports Club has already been put in a minor division of the Argentine Football Association, and played its first game on Sunday - trouncing the opposition. The team will take part in the championship of Lujan, where a basilica and a well-known shrine of the Madonna are located.

The dream of the soccer players in the white and yellow jerseys is of course to climb to the first division and build a stadium - in which, they say, sooner or later Jorge Mario Bergoglio would be expected. From soccer to singing - Argentine star singer and ex-actor, Palito Ortega, who was born in a remote village in the far northern periphery of the country, just released a new CD called "The light of Francis". "It wasn't by chance that I wasn't a priest. I remember well the missionaries who arrived in my village, where there was not only no church, but there was not even a police station or a judge," stressed Ortega.

"I did not frequent the pope, but I met him. What he is doing is opening the doors of the temples, which should have always been open wide for anyone searching for refuge. Francis is the one telling priests not to remain seated but to go out into the streets looking for the people.

"I feel a bit of pain when I see how religious sects and false pastors have gone forward: sellers of illusions, of magical solutions and non-existent paradises. Nothing is further from the mission, the real one, of a true pastor".

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