Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The final of the "Pope Francis Tournament", the sporting event that competed 12 teams, representing local Armenian, Chaldean, Syriac, Latin and Coptic ecclesial communities, ended on penalties. In the end, the team from the Chaldean Cathedral of St. Joseph won, against the team of the Latin church of St. Joseph.
The final, played on Thursday, November 4, before a large number of fans and broadcast live on Iraqi television, was also attended by the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako and several Iraqi bishops, who at the end of the match handed out prizes to the members of the winning team and individual awards to the best player, the best goalkeeper and the top scorer of the tournament. The sports competition was organized by the Catholic Youth Committee, led by Mar Basel Salem Yaldo, Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad. In a country and a city that has been struggling with emergencies (including the pandemic), violence and social and political tensions that make daily life difficult for much of the Iraqi people, the football tournament between the parish teams of Baghdad was organized and lived as a moment of fraternal coexistence, a sign and hope of a possible return to a daily life without distortions from the poisons of sectarianism. The football tournament is named after Pope Francis, also in memory of the visit made to Iraq by the current Successor of Peter in March 2020. On the evening of Sunday, October 31, during the Eucharistic Liturgy he presided over in the Chaldean Cathedral of St. Joseph in Baghdad , Cardinal and Patriarch Sako stopped precisely at the profession of faith of the apostle Peter recounted in the Gospel of Luke ("Then he asked: 'But who do you say that I am? Peter, taking the floor, answered: 'The Christ of God' "Lk 9:20).
The faith of the Church - commented Patriarch Sako - "is the faith of Peter", and the Church itself is born and grows only as "the fruit of the experience of the faith of Peter, the Apostles and Christians", experienced "in the mystery of God and Christ". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 5/11/2021)