Pope Francis’ Favorite Soccer Team Give Him a Birthday Gift

San Lorenzo Present Holy Father with Replica Championship Trophy and Team Shirt

VATICAN CITY, December 18, 2013 (Zenit.org) – A delegation from Pope Francis’ favourite soccer team this morning presented the Holy Father with a replica of a championship trophy that the squad won this year.

The delegation from the Buenos Aires football team “San Lorenzo de Almagro”, of whom Archbishop Bergoglio was an official supporter, presented the Pope with a replica of the Inicial Championship Cup  – a trophy the team had not won since 2007 – at the end of today‘s General Audience.

Pope Francis is the soccer club’s chaplain and the holder of membership card no. 88235N-0.

The club’s vice-president, Marcelo Tinelli, brought a team shirt, as a gift for Francis who celebrated his 77th birthday yesterday, 17 December.

The young Jorge Mario Bergoglio attended the San Lorenzo grounds with his father, and during his period of office as archbishop of Buenos Aires he continued to be a member and to visit to the club to celebrate Mass and to confess the players, the Vatican disclosed.

The team was founded by a Salesian, Fr. Lorenzo Massa, who following ordination was sent to the troubled Almagro quarter. After seeing the enthusiasm of many young people for football, he formed a team for them to play in, saving some of them from a life of delinquency.

The club’s nickname, “crows”, was given to them by their neighbours in the quarter, who used to exclaim “Here come the crows!”, alluding to the cassock worn by Fr. Massa when he accompanied them in training.

Pope Francis gave them a special greeting at today’s weekly general audience. “I especially greet the San Lorenzo football team, who won the Championship last Sunday and have brought the Cup here. Thank you very much,” he said.

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