Pope mentions Eusébio as an inspiration in meeting with young Mozambicans

After meeting with Mozambican authorities, Pope Francis attends the Interfaith Meeting with the youths at the Maxaquene Pavilion in Maputo. During his speech, Francisco mentioned footballer Eusébio as someone who always believed in his dreams.

Pope Francis met with young Mozambicans of various religions at the Maxaquene Pavilion in Maputo this morning, where he called for the need to have everyone together fighting for peace in the country.

'What could be more important to a pastor than being with his own? What is more important to a pastor than meeting his youths? You are important! You need to know this, you need to believe it: you are important! Because you are not just the future of Mozambique or the Church and humanity; you are the present! With all that you are and do, you are already contributing with the best you have today. Without your enthusiasm, your songs, your joy of living, what would this earth be? Seeing you singing, smiling, dancing, in the midst of all your hardships - as you were telling us - is the best sign that you young people are the joy of this earth, the joy of today.'

One of the highlights of the speech was when the Pope recalled football player Eusébio da Silva, the 'black panther', who began his career at the Maputo club. The athlete did not succumb to the severe economic difficulties felt by his family and the premature death of his father. Football helped him persevere, said Francis, and he went on to 'score 77 goals for Maxaquene!'

The Pontiff then used the analogy of team playing to speak of the importance of striving for the country through the tactic of unity and regardless of what people's differences.

'How important it is not to forget that social enmity destroys. And a family is destroyed by enmity. A country is destroyed by enmity. The world is destroyed by enmity. And the greatest enmity is war. And today we see that the world is being destroyed by war because we are unable to sit and talk. Strive to create social friendship! It's not easy, we always have to compromise, we have to negotiate, but if we do it for the good of all, we can achieve the wonderful experience of setting aside differences to strive together for a common goal. When coincident points can be found in the midst of so many disagreements and, through artisanal, and sometimes tiring efforts, building bridges, building a peace that is good for all, that is the miracle of the culture of unity' (Ibid., 169)."

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