Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Beautiful Game"-Time

Keeping with the sports theme, tomorrow sees the opening of the planet's most-watched sporting event: soccer's quadrennial World Cup, being held for the first time on the African continent.

In tribute to the occasion, the event's ecclesial hosts -- the South African bishops' conference -- have released the following prayer for the monthlong tourney:
Almighty God, creator of all,
as people from every nation gather with excitement
and enthusiasm for the 2010 World Soccer Cup
may South Africans be good hosts,
our visitors welcomed guests
and the players from every team be blessed
with good sportsmanship and health.

May your Spirit of fairness, justice and peace prevail
amongst players and all involved.
May each contribute in his own positive ways to prevent,
control and fight crime and corruption,
hooliganism of any kind
and exploitation and abuse,
especially of those most vulnerable.

May those far away from home
and those in their families find much joy in this occasion
to celebrate the beautiful game of soccer
and the beautiful game of life
according to Your plan
for the common good of all.

The World Cup prayer is just one aspect of "Church On The Ball" -- an initiative of the host-bench to highlight the church's life and work in the country amid the global interest surrounding this biggest of championships.

The ball goes up at 4pm local time (11am) as the home side takes on Mexico.

PHOTO: Getty