Pope Francis Coming to ESC


Pope Francis plans to appear at the ESC Congress 2016 to endorse the group's healthy lifestyle campaign.

When it comes to celebrity help with good causes, it just doesn't get any better than having the Pope onboard.

That could happen August 31 for the European Society of Cardiology.

His Holiness Pope Francis--a known soccer fan-- will attend the ESC's Congress 2016 in Rome, Italy, in what the groups says in a papal endorsement of the group's efforts to get people more active, part of a healthy lifestyle campaign.

On Wednesday, metal detectors and Vatican Security will be in place at the Rome meeting venue, the Fiera di Roma.

The Pope will venture out of his summer headquarters about a half hour away at Vatican City to address the 25,000 attendees of cardiovascular summit meeting.

It was the ESC’s idea.

“This presented a unique opportunity for a society like ours to have a strong ally—and our being in Rome and near the Vatican,” said ESC’s president, Fausto Pinto at a news conference this morning.

Heart disease and deaths have become a global problem, and Pinto said that while no formal campaign between ESC and the Vatican is planned, he is hopeful that having the cause of living a healthier lifestyle embraced by such a global figure would be effective.

The Vatican is strongly in favor of people taking better care of themselves, Pinto said.

While no details were immediately available on the Pope’s own fitness habits, he is already on record as embracing one particular physical activity.

His love of soccer is well known by his followers.

In the Vatican Museums in Vatican City, a trophy case displays the Pope’s collection of soccer memorabilia—including a red and blue striped jersey that says in Italian “Francisco Champion 2013” the year that Pope Francis was elected to his office. (Photo by Amy Jacob).

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading cause of mortality. It is responsible for more than 17 million deaths a year -- or 31% of all deaths.

Pinto said the Pope’s decision to attend was also a show of recognition of the ESC’s efforts to better prevent the disease.

“We are very proud His Holiness is coming,” Pinto said.

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