Pope Francis lights Torch for 2013 Trentino Winter Universiade
Wednesday, 06 November 2013
November 6 - Pope Francis today lit the Torch for the Trentino 2013 Winter Universiade during a special ceremony before a large crowd in St Peters Square in Vatican City.
The Torch was designed by the University of Trento's Industrial Engineering department under the slogan "Inspired by You" and aims to symbolise the mix of sport, research and technological innovation characterising the 26th Universiade.
Before lighting it, Pope Francis performed a special blessing on the Torch which is customised with the traditional Universiade colours of blue and green.
The Torch will remain in Rome today and tomorrow where it will visit Government buildings,including the offices of the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Enrico Letta.
It will then embark upon a short tour of Europe visiting Brussels, Paris, Lausanne and Turin among others.
"With the lighting of the torch Pope Francis wanted to send a message of confidence in young people, which is our heritage for the future, for which we are committed to building a better world and full of solidarity," said Jean-Claude Gallien, President of the International University Sports Federation (FISU).
"The lighting of the Torch for all of us is a symbolic act."
After passing through the Austrian city of Innsbruck, host of 1976 Winter Olympics and last year's inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games, the Torch will visit some of Italy's most famous and cultural cities.
These include Milan, Pisa and Venice before the last leg of its journey will see it make its way through the mountainous Trentino region in time for the Opening Ceremony in the Piazza Duomo in Trento on December 11.
"With the lighting of the torch we tried a unique experience, destined to become the heritage of all those present," said Sergio Anesi, chairman of Trentino 2013.
"This gesture gave further direction to the efforts of those who are working to bring to Trentino many young people with a big sign of confidence.
"I did not expect such an event to [be honoured] by the Holy Father, whose presence here today is an important testimony to the world of sports, Italy and Trentino."
The 2013 Winter Universiade is due to run from December 11 to 21 and will see around 3,600 athletes from more than 60 countries competing in 13 different sports in Trentino.
To follow the progress of the Trentino 2013 Torch Relay click here.
October 2013: Pope Francis to light Trentino 2013 Torch