As football fans cheer on their favorite Super Bowl team this weekend, Pope Francis hopes we’ll take a moment to reflect on world peace and friendship.
In a first for the Vatican, the pope has recorded a video message that will air during Sunday’s match between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons in Houston.
“Great sporting events like today’s Super Bowl are highly symbolic, showing that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace,” he says in Spanish.
“By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self-interest ― and in a healthy way ― we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules,” he continues. “May this year’s Super Bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity to the world.”
The pope is an outspoken sports fan, whose home country of Argentina is especially known for its love of soccer.
As far as which NFL team the pope is praying for ― alas, he declined to say.