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Letter by CCCB President Bishop Pierre Morissette for the Olympics

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Dear athletes and visitors to the Olympics,

Welcome to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games!

It is an honour for Canada to have been selected once again to host the most important sporting event in the world. As people from every race, creed and culture come to British Columbia for this celebration of athletic excellence, we hope that all of us will be reminded of the values that the Games convey.

CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS
Faster, higher, stronger

These three words were adopted in 1894 as the official motto of the Olympic Games. Originally the idea of Dominican Father Henri Didon to motivate the students in his gym class to strive for personal excellence, this motto has been inspiring world-class athletes ever since. May all of us – whether Catholics or members of other faith traditions, as well as all people of goodwill – apply the same principle to our own lives, so together we may grow into world-class human beings.

When you attend one or many of the various sporting events, amid the excitement of these athletic activities it can be easy to get caught up in national pride and competitiveness. While this can be somewhat understandable, we should also reflect on the goal of the Olympic movement: “to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind, in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

Catholics share the hope expressed by Pope Benedict XVI before the 2008 Summer Games, that the Olympics will “offer the international community an effective example of coexistence among people of the most different provenances, with respect for their common dignity.” To borrow the words of the Pope, may sports once again be a pledge of friendship and peace among peoples!

We pray that your stay in British Columbia is most enjoyable, and that you will have the opportunity to discover the many cultures and peoples who make up the vibrant and diverse communities of Western Canada. May the friendships that you forge while in Canada stay with you long after the Games have ended.

We also hope that during your stay you will discover some of the richness of the Catholic Church in Canada, and that as you return home you will keep all Canadians in your hearts and prayers. You can also be assured of being welcomed by Catholic parishes and communities before, during and after the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
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+ Pierre Morissette
Bishop of Saint-Jérôme
President
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

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Last Updated on Tuesday, February 09 2010  
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According to Statistics Canada the number of Catholics is close to 13 Million or 44 per cent of the country’s total population.