Faith Sharing, Promoting Unity and Friendship Through Sports

Jul 7, 2024 | Apostolate

London, UK. The Vatican’s St. Peter’s Cricket Team embarked on their tenth annual ‘Light of Faith’ tour in England from June 29 to July 5, 2024. This year’s tour aimed to foster dialogue and friendship between the Catholic Church and the host country, strengthening ties between Pope Francis and King Charles.

Pope Francis emphasized the importance of creating a peaceful society through unity amidst diversity, while King Charles expressed his joy at welcoming the Vatican team to Windsor Castle grounds.

Ecumenical Service at Royal Chapel

On the eve of their match at Windsor Castle, the Vatican team participated in an ecumenical service and dialogue at Chapel Royal and the Queen’s Chapel at St James’s Palace in London. The event brought together different Christian denominations to share and pray as one family, enhancing unity among Christians.

In honour of Pope Francis, the Royal Family also hosted the team at Windsor Castle and conducted a prayer service at St. George’s Chapel. The Queen’s Band also performed, adding to the tour’s ceremonial significance.

Ambassadors for the Catholic Priesthood

The team, composed of seminarians and priests based in Rome, serves as ‘ambassadors’ for the Catholic priesthood. Representing different dioceses and religious congregations, the players are currently engaged in studies or religious ministries in Rome. Notably, Fr. Nelson Puthanparambil CMF, who is currently in Rome, is part of the team. Previously, Fr. Danushka Silva CMF was also a member of the team.

Matches and Cultural Exchanges

During the tour, the Vatican team played against the England Over 60s, St. Mary’s University, and concluded with a match at Windsor Castle against the King’s XI.

British Ambassador to the Vatican, Chris Trott, highlighted that the tour not only strengthened diplomatic ties between the Churches but also fortified Vatican-UK relations.

A Journey of Friendship and Gospel Hope

Each year, the Vatican cricket team’s journey extends beyond the cricket pitch, spreading the message of friendship, unity, and gospel hope inspired by the Holy Father for the Jubilee year. The team’s visits to historic sites like Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey offer opportunities for meaningful cultural and spiritual exchanges.

The ‘Light of Faith’ tour is more than a series of cricket matches; it is a celebration of mutual respect, shared values, and the joy of the gospel. Over the past nine editions, the team has built lasting friendships and left a trail of goodwill in every country visited.

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