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Anglicans and RCs to face each other at the crease

27 June 2014

by a staff reporter

Catching the vision: Archbishop Welby with a member of the Vatican team in Rome in June

Catching the vision: Archbishop Welby with a member of the Vatican team in Rome in June

DETAILS have been released of the forthcoming cricket match between the Vatican and a C of E side.

The match will take place at the ground of Kent County Cricket Club, in Canterbury, on Friday 19 September. It will be a Twenty20 game, starting at 4 p.m. Entry to the match will be free, and a collection will be taken for the Global Freedom Network, the joint Anglican-Roman Catholic initiative to combat slavery and people-trafficking.

The Vatican squad was unveiled at a press conference in Rome on Monday. It consists of nine semin-arians and four priests. Eight come from India, two from Sri Lanka, and there is one each from Pakistan, England, and Ireland. The Anglican team is yet to be selected. Trials of ordinand hopefuls will take place at Lord's on Monday 7 July.

The Vatican side will arrive in England a week before the match. It has plans for several warm-up matches, including one against a Royal Household side in Windsor. It will join the C of E team for evensong in Canterbury Cathedral on the eve of the match.

On Friday night, after the match, the teams will take part in a gala dinner in aid of the Global Freedom Network. The Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to attend.

Archbishop Welby met members of the Vatican team during his visit to Rome last weekend.

He said on Monday: "I am greatly looking forward to welcoming them to Canterbury in September for what will be an historic occasion. I would like to express particular thanks to Kent County Cricket Club for so generously offering the use of their ground, and to those who are working hard to ensure the St Peter's team enjoy a memorable tour. I also pray that the match will draw attention to the very serious problem of modern slavery and human trafficking."

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, whose initiative this was, said: "In our culture of massive movement of peoples, sport challenges us to examine not just how hospitable we are, as individual athletes, but also how similar we are. For as Jean Giraudoux affirms, 'Sport is the real Esperanto of the peoples.'"

The match was also welcomed by the RC Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Revd Peter Smith, and the RC Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who said: "I hope this visit is a great success and does much to strengthen friendships between us all."

The  Church Times is one of the sponsors of the match. More details of the match will be released soon. Please put the date in your diary.

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