Pope Francis welcomes FC Barcelona to the Vatican
A FC Barcelona delegation led by President Josep Maria Bartomeu was in the Vatican City on Thursday to sign an agreement between the Catalan club’s Foundation and the Scholas Occurrentes charity - network of schools being promoted by the pontiff – to set up joint educational actions to promote values. Barça is the first sports club in the world to make such a deal. FC Barcelona was also represented by vice-president Jordi Cardoner, the vice-presidents of the Foundation, Ramon Pont and Ramon Cierco and director Pau Vilanova.
Barcelona (FCB).- A FC Barcelona delegation led by President Josep Maria Bartomeu was in the Vatican City on Thursday to sign an agreement between the Catalan club’s Foundation and the Scholas Occurrentes charity - network of schools being promoted by the pontiff – to set up joint educational actions to promote values. Barça is the first sports club in the world to make such a deal. FC Barcelona was also represented by vice-president Jordi Cardoner, the vice-presidents of the Foundation, Ramon Pont and Ramon Cierco and director Pau Vilanova.
First in the world
The Barça party started the afternoon attending the IV Scholas Occurrentes Congress in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican. Among other international organisations, Bartomeu signed a collaboration agreement with this Vatican based charity. Pope Francis then joined the meeting and chaired the second part of the event, where he said a few words of gratitude to each of the signees and then took part in a hang out with children from all around the world that are involved in the Scholas project. Francis’ message focused on the use of education as a tool to help the poor and build peace.
The protocol over, Bartomeu and the other FCB representatives were able to chat to Pope Francis and present him with a club shirt bearing his name and the signatures of the first team squad. They thanked the Pontiff for his implication in the caring side of sport, and for this opportunity for Barça to become the first sports club in the world to sign an agreement with Scholas Occurrentes, the Pope’s own project that he set up when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.
FC Barcelona were also able to use the moment to present a video introducing the agreement and featuring Mascherano, Suárez and Bartra.
Education in values
The FCB Foundation will be working with Scholas Occurrentes to foster education through different actions. The former will providing schools forming part of the latter with pedagogic materials based on sport and FC Barcelona. It will also be working on the creation of an online version of the FutbolNet project, which seeks to promote positive behaviours, as well running face-to-face classes in Mozambique and Argentina.
The Barçakids project is also involved in the plans, because this alliance will mean its website (www.fcbkids.cat) and didactic materials will be tranlsted into Spanish and English in order for children in other parts of the world to benefit from them too.
Messi and Mascherano, familiar faces
Scholas Occurrentes is a global network of schools promoted by Pope Francis and its aim is to encourage integration at schools around the world, with a special focus on those with limited resources. The project is looking to use new technologies to set up a global classroom for knowledge transfer between countries in which art and sport will play prominent roles as catalysts of social cohesion and peace.
The initiative has been running for less than two years, but has already organised activities that have attracted worldwide attention, including those involving Barça’s two Argentinian players. In fact, the first schools to join the project in August 2013 did so at an event at the Vatican attended by Leo Messi. And last September, Scholas Occurentes held a game for peace in the Olympic Stadium, Rome, where Javier Marcherano was one of many international stars that took part.
The project now connects more than 400,000 schools ion sixty countries.
Statement by Josep Maria Bartomeu
“We found the Pope to be very receptive, he’s a great person, very warm and he uses the same language that we all use. He’s a Pope who lives in the real world and understands young people’s problems.
The project seeks to bring children a better future and we are proud to have been chosen to participate. We are the first sports club in the world to join and we’re very proud of that. It says a lot for FC Barcelona's values, which are what represent us around the world."