Rome (Fides Service) – At the end of the general audience today, Wednesday 7 May, from St Peter’s Square athletes will start a marathon run from Rome to Lourdes, where it will arrive on 18 May on the occasion of the 45th International Military Pilgrimage to with the participation of representatives from 37 different countries. The marathon for world peace “Our dreams run with us” is organised by the CSI Centro Italiano Sportivo in collaboration with the Italian Military Ordinariate and Italian Chief of Defence. The organisers say the purposes of the event is to encourage young people to have greater fervour for life, spirituality and sacrifice so that hearts may open the justice and love and individuals and countries are stimulated to show reciprocal understanding and a form commitment for peace.
The athletes will include members of military sports clubs, civilian runners and also a group of disabled athletes since this is the European Year of the Disabled. On various laps other athletes will join to escort the torch of love, hope and peace and along the way there will be stops with moments of prayer, encounter, discussion with religious and lay associations and local authorities. At Ventimiglia, (roughly half-way) on the French/Italian border French and Spanish athletes will join the main group and accompany them the rest of the way to Lourdes. The military, civilian and disabled runners hope in this way to contribute towards building a new world and to spreading a message of love, hope and peace. SL (Fides Service 6/5/2003 EM lines 17 Words: 246)