Pope to Settecolli swimmers: virtue, gratitude, stewardship
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received athletes, organisers and sponsors of the "Settecolli"international swimming competition on Saturday.
The Settecolli event is the last major competition ahead of the World Championships in Budapest in July
In remarks to his guests, who were gathered in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace on Saturday, Pope Francis said that swimming - especially competitive swimming - is an extremely demanding form of athleticism that requires the cultivation of many virtues, and also presses us to reflect on the gift of water.
"Your competitiveness, your racing, your living in contact with water, can also be a contribution to a different 'culture of water': water is life - without water there is no life - and to talk about life is to talk about God, the origin and source of life. Even our Christian life begins with the sign of water, with Baptism," Pope Francis said.
More than 700 athletes from 36 countries are participating in the Settecolli competition this weekend.