We share this message we received from Fr. Pedro Opeka, a vincentian missionary in Madagascar, who, during his visit to Barcelona (Spain), had the opportunity to meet and share moments with two world football stars:
Dear friends of Akamasoa!
This morning we had the nice surprise to meet the best footballer in the world Lionel Messi! He interrupted his training to greet us. It’s a bit of a miracle said Josep Maldonado, the big man from Barcelona who invited us in this beautiful city.
Lionel Messi greatly surprised me by the good humor with which he welcomed us and I always liked very much the humility of this man so loved by supporters and the media, but he has remained himself.
I must confess that I have appreciated his presence of mind and sincere smile.
We exchanged a few words in a very fraternal and cordial spirit. There were other people with me who also wanted to greet Messi, Luba my sister and her husband Carlos, the Vice Chairman of Banco IDB, the Honorary Consul of Spain in Madagascar and Philippines Honorary Consul in Spain and a lady from the Foundation Club of Barcelona. Josep Maldonado, who organized this meeting with Messi and presented us to Messi, was of extraordinary kindness.
With Messi came Mascherano, which I love his tenacity, strength and perseverance in a match of football. He too has been very cordial and when he knew my work, he told me several times, I wish you luck in your mission in Madagascar. I enjoyed inviting them to come to Madagascar and Akamasoa. Of course it’s almost impossible, but we never know. Nothing is impossible to God.
Before leaving I was strongly embraced by Lionel Messi, I felt a current of friendship and solidarity between us. I can say that it was a time of great humanity we lived together with Lionel Messi, Mascherano and all the presents.
May the world be more supportive and fraternal. It is possible! Let each of us make this a reality, without rest and without respite!
Fr. Pedro Opeka