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Rio de Janeiro cardinal receives, blesses Olympic torch

Banner cardinal orani joao tempesta holds the olympic torch with former olympian isabel salgado in rio aug 4 2016 credit gustavo de oliveira arqrio cna

Cardinal Orani Joao Tempesta holds the Olympic torch with former Olympian Isabel Salgado in Rio, Aug. 4, 2016. Credit: Gustavo de Oliveira/ArqRio.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 5, 2016 / 02:58 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In the shadows of the emblematic statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Cardinal Orani Joao Tempesta, blessed the Olympic torch and wished for games of fraternity and peace. The cardinal’s blessing of the torch at Christ the Redeemer marked the final day of the torch’s 95-day journey across Brazil to the Olympic stadium for the start of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“I wish the Olympic Games to be a wonderful experience of fraternity and peace, and an opportunity to help build a more just country,” said Cardinal Tempesta, before leading attendees in the Our Father.

The torch was carried and held by Brazil’s former Olympic volleyball player Maria Isabel Barroso Salgado, who ran most of the challenging uphill road to the statue of Christ the Redeemer. From there, the torch started on its last leg to the Maracana Stadium where the opening ceremonies will be held on the evening of Aug. 5.

“We hope we will live the days of peace that are part of the ‘Olympic truce’ that will go all the way to the Paralympics,” Cardinal Tempesta said, as he recalled the words that Pope Francis addressed to Brazil Aug. 3 during his general audience at the Vatican: “I wish that the Olympic spirit may inspire all to build a civilization of solidarity.”

Pope Francis offered a messaged to those competing in the international games at the end of his general audience in advance of the 2016 Opening Ceremonies. “In a world thirsting for peace, tolerance, and reconciliation, I hope that the spirit of the Olympic Games inspires all – participants and spectators – to ‘fight the good fight’ and finish the race together,” Pope Francis said.

The Holy Father voiced hope that in competing this year, the Olympic athletes will desire “to obtain as a prize, not a medal, but something much more precious: the construction of a civilization in which solidarity reigns and is based upon the recognition that we are all members of the same human family, regardless of the differences of culture, skin color, or religion.” He offered a warm greeting to the people of Brazil saying, “I hope that this will be an opportunity to overcome difficult moments and commit…to working as a team to build a more just and safe country, betting all on a future full of hope and joy.”

The 2016 Olympic Games are scheduled to begin Aug. 5 at 8:00 pm local time in Brazil.

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