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
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
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
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.