Argentine soccer team San Lorenzo de Almagro will be renamed in honor of its most famous fan: the current head of the Roman Catholic Church.
The fourteen-time Argentine first division champions will have the new moniker of Club Atlético Papa Francisco de Almagro effective immediately according to a statement issued this morning on the club’s website.
“On this date in 1908 our team was established in honor of Buenos Aires priest Father Lorenzo Massa. On our one hundred fourteenth birthday is fitting that we honor another religious figure who has always looked out for the poor and young,” said part of the communiqué.
“We hope to win many championships with God’s help and the blessing from our ultimate fan,” added the statement.
Last month the then-San Lorenzo team played a league game with a special jersey featuring the Pope’s name and likeness. The team’s badge will be modified to include the new initials of CAPFdA though the official jersey will still have its distinctive dark blue and red vertical stripes.
The former Archbishop of Buenos Aires has been praised for his humility via his actions such as on Holy Thursday when he washed the feet of twelve male and female juvenile prisoners. Nevertheless, he has not shied from publicly demonstrating supporting for the team he has cheered for since he was a young lad. After yesterday’s Easter Mass he proudly displayed a San Lorenzo jersey given to him by one of the thousands of Catholics at St. Peter’s Square.
As sports journalist Vito Garcia recently wrote, the Pontiff loves his team and he was particularly moved in the club’s centenary year in 2011:
Pope Francis has always carried soccer close. At the ceremony honoring the club's 100-year anniversary, he recalled that in San Lorenzo, "other colors don't matter to us, we will pray to the Virgin." He also asked to "never remove Virgin Mary, Our lady of Help, from the team because she is your mother, considering San Lorenzo born in (the Oratory) San Antonio under the Virgin's protection."
At that moment, team President Carlos Abdo gave him an official jersey and named him an honorary member of the soccer club. The children who took part in the festivities presented him with a pennant signed by all in attendance. The Pope was moved by all the displays of affection and recalled the 1946 season, along with Pontoni's goals, "I did not miss one of those games," he said.Pope Francis, member 88235N-0 of then-San Lorenzo fan club, has yet to officially reply to the Argentine club’s renaming.
Video Source– YouTube via user Cadena3Deportes
Online Sources – Huffington Post, ABC.es, Washington Post, Buenos Aires Herald Official Website of San Lorenzo