Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Cardinal and the Football

As some readers wanted to come at me with pickaxes when I wrote about the liturgical celebration of New Year in the neighborhood where I was raised, I'm curious what you'll all make of this.

In that photo is Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City. In his hand is what we Yanks call a soccer ball. And the men in suits are Mexico's national soccer team, who leave on Saturday for the World Cup, which begins shortly in Germany.

Apparently, la nacion -- the people who gave us the most beautiful cultural-liturgical manifestation of all time with the 12 December mananitas -- showed up en masse at Mama Guadalupe's house to pray -- for victory, apparently.
Legions of fans -- some sporting game regalia like clown costumes and Mexican flag-capes -- packed the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City to attend a special Mass for the "Tri," as the team is affectionately called in Mexico.

"As Mexicans we are joyful and supportive of our brothers who will be representing our country," Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera said during the May 20 Mass.

"They have come to the holy feet of Our Lady of Guadalupe," the cardinal said....

Throughout the Mass, the cardinal's words were followed by applause and soccer chants, and churchgoers in team jerseys made the sign of the cross as they whispered prayers for the players....

A crowd of thousands ran alongside the team bus as it made its way down the boulevard bound for the airport.

PHOTO: Reuters/Henry Romero