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Monday, December 15, 2003


VATICAN CITY, DEC 13, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall, Pope John Paul welcomed members of the European Olympic Committees, the Italian Association of Opticians and the 'Interdis' group.

In addressing the president and members of the 49 European Olympic Committees who are participating in the annual assembly of the International Olympic Committee, the Holy Father said: 'I welcome this occasion to underline once again the value and importance of sports, especially in the formation of young people. Europe is the cradle of modern sports which come from the competitive exercises of the ancient Greeks which were marked by reciprocal respect and friendship. May the well-known motto of the modern Olympics, 'Citius, Altius, Fortius' (faster, higher, stronger), continue to mark the sporting practices of the new generations.'

The Pope then greeted the Italian Association of Opticians and the Italian Association of Research for Eye Diseases. 'May your patron saint, St. Lucy, whose feast is today, help you to undertake with every greater commitment your activity in favor of those who have eye problems. This is an important service that you perform for society.'

Lastly, in brief remarks, he thanked the 'Interdis' Group for Commercial Distribution for 'the generous support you have given to the Pope's charity initiatives in favor of the most needy.'

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