A “Vatican House of Sport,” whose aim will be to carry forward Pope Francis’ “inclusive and supportive vision,” will be inaugurated in Rome on September 20, 2023, the Holy See Press Office announced on September 11. Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, who is responsible for sport as the Prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education, will bless the new premises, located in the Trastevere neighborhood in the Italian capital.
This space, which will be located in the Holy See’s San Callisto building in Trastevere, will be the “operational headquarters” of Athletica Vaticana, the Vatican sports association founded in 2019.
Athletica Vaticana is seeking to join other federations in order to create a national Olympic committee and thus participate in international events such as the “Games of the Small States” and the Olympics.
Athletica Vaticana: The Pope’s sports ambassador
The association has around 200 male and female members, including several Swiss Guards and other Vatican City employees. They wear white and gold, the colors of the Vatican coat of arms, when competing in events.
Athletica Vaticana is an “ambassador for the pope” and even a “diplomatic sports corps,” said Pope Francis in 2022. The association “testifies concretely, on the streets and among the people, the face of solidarity in sports” as it welcomes “young migrants and people with disabilities,” the Pope explained. It also champions sport as an opportunity for encounters, friendship, and fraternity.
The new “Casa Vaticana dello Sport” aims to be a “crossroads of encounters between athletes from different cultures and religions,” and a place to promote “the most fragile people.”