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  • Italian NOC Welcomes New Pope


    Pope Francis attends his first private Mass as Pope. (Getty Images)
    (ATR) The Italian National Olympic Committee tells Around the Rings it's filled with joy over the selection of the new Pope, reportedly a long-suffering football fan. 

    Pope Francis assumed his papal duties on Wednesday, and the announcement was monitored by CONI. The Vatican City is carved out of Rome and indelibly linked to Rome and Italian life.

    “Today is a very important day for the whole world,” CONI spokesman Danilo di Tomasso said, relaying a message from the president Giovanni Malago.

    “We join with the joy of all the faithful to celebrate the new pope who comes from an important continent, South America, that will be crucial in the sports movement for the next years.”

    Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he served as Cardinal and Archbishop. The city will host the 2013 IOC Session, while Brazil will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
    Giovanni Malago. (CONI)

    “South America will be the prominent area and today has given to all of us the new Pope,” di Tomasso said. Francis is the first pope from the Americas.

    Wednesday was also Malago’s 54th birthday. He watched the announcement of the new pope at a birthday reception.

    Francis’s football allegiance was quickly broadcast on Wednesday. He is a member of the San Lorenzo football club, which played near his home in Buenos Aires.

    "He says he lives in a permanent state of suffering
    Then-Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio showing his club's colors. (San Lorenzo)
    for San Lorenzo," Oscar Lucchini was quoted by Reuters. Lucchini handed the then-Archbishop his membership card in the club following a Mass he celebrated next to the team’s stadium.

    A statement from San Lorenzo expressed their “happiness and pride in the selection,” and wished the new pontiff “every success.”

    Thursday is Francis’ first day on the job, and it started with prayer at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome and a Mass with the cardinals at the Sistine Chapel.

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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