CRICKETERS from the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI are taking unity to a new level — by playing on the same side.
A joint Anglican-RC team will play a multifaith team at the Nursery Ground at Lord’s on Friday 6 July, hosted by the English Cricket Board (ECB).
The match will be a celebration of the power that religions have to express commonality — and also of the power that cricket has to break down barriers of background, race, and creed.
These objectives mirror those of the two Christian sides, who have played each other each year since 2014, alternating between Canterbury and Rome, and competing for the Ut Unum Sint Cup (“May all be one”).
Fr Eamonn O’Higgins LC of the Mater Ecclesiae Seminary in Rome, which supplies many of the players for St Peter’s Cricket Club, the Vatican side, said in 2015: “Ut unum sint is our goal, our purpose. Unity will happen: it’s only a question of time.” The matches have been seen as a parallel venture alongside more formal discussions between the Churches, and are acknowledged to have encouraged a greater commitment to unity.
In 2016, the two sides, besides playing each other, took to the field against a Muslim side in a three-way tournament at Edgbaston, in Birmingham.
After the two sides met in Rome last year, they began to look for a way to play more closely together, building on the unity and friendship that have developed between the players. The Vatican side, St Peter’s Cricket Club, had already played a multifaith side, and so the idea of the July match was born.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI, formed in 2014 to play against St Peter’s, with support and funding from the Church Times and Ecclesiastical, is building its fixture list against secular and religious sides. This summer it plays a Maccabi Vale XI, a Jewish side from north London.
Further details of the 6 July match will be released later. The organisers regret that it is expected to be an invitation-only match.