Albania to Hold a "Peoples Run" in Honor of Mother Teresa

Country Hoping to Improve Its Image

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ROME, SEPT. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In honor of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a half-marathon will be held Oct. 19 in Albania to promote fraternity among peoples and religions.



The run will take place on the streets of Tirana, the capital of Mother Teresa's native land. Participants will have to run a total of 7 kilometers and 300 meters three times to complete the competition. The event will be held on the day of her beatification in Rome.

The sports event, whose promoters include two Italian regions, the municipality of Parma, and several companies, was presented here Wednesday at the headquarters of the Latium regional council.

The "Peoples Run -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta Memorial" aims to foster fraternal values among peoples and religions, in addition to concern for the weakest, a favorite cause of the founder of the Missionaries of Charity.

The newspaper Avvenire reported that the initiative "will be one of the best means to transmit the message of the future blessed, namely, to educate in order to walk together," explained Francesco Storace, president of the Latium region, which includes Rome.

For Monsignor Carlo Mazza, director of the Italian bishops' Office of Sports Pastoral Care, the half-marathon "will be a great ecumenical event, a sign of peace among peoples. And we also hope that it will be, precisely thanks to Mother Teresa, a shower of holiness for sports."

Organizers hope that the Peoples Run will be an occasion to give a different view of Albania, said the country's Vice Minister for Sports, Halil Lalay. Other scheduled activities will include artistic competitions and an exhibition in the National Museum of Tirana on the life and work of Mother Teresa.

Added Giovanni Abelli, president of the Peoples Run: "What we intend to do is to change the image that Italy and the world have of Albania."

See www.peoplesrun.org.