Anglicans and Catholics to face each other in Canterbury cricket match

(Photo: REUTERS / Alessandro Bianchi)

A player from a team of priests and seminarians returns a ball during a training session at the Maria Mater Ecclesiae's Catholic College in Rome October 22, 2013. The Vatican officially declared its intention to defeat the Church of England on Tuesday - not in a theological re-match nearly 500 years after they split, but on the cricket pitch. The challenge was launched at the baptism of the St. Peter's Cricket Club. Vatican officials said the league will be composed of teams of priests and seminarians from Catholic colleges and seminaries in Rome.

Anglicans and Catholics to face each other in Canterbury cricket matchAnglican and Roman Catholic cricket teams will face each other in Canterbury on September 19 in a historic match to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking.

Those who think of cricket being a five day affair will be relieved that the match is in the Twenty20 match format which is faster than a baseball game and takes about the same time.

The match will be played at Kent County Cricket Club near the Canterbury Cathedral, in the historic south England city.

It is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who is the spiritual head of the Church of England and the most senior bishop in the 88-million strong Anglican Communion.

The match will raise funds for the Global Freedom Network, the joint Anglican-Roman Catholic anti-trafficking initiative launched in March.

The St. Peter's XI will represent the Catholics.

St Peter's XI is made up largely of Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan seminarians, most of whom are training for the priesthood at the Maria Mater Ecclesiae college in Rome.

(Photo: Anglican Communion)The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby meets the Vatican Cricket team during a recent visit to Rome on June 15, 2014.

Fr Eamonn O'Higgins is in charge of spiritual formation at the college and he's also manager of St Peter's Cricket Club.

Entrance to the match will be free but organizers will have a bucket collection during the match, which will be followed by a gala dinner to raise further funds.

The match will mark the culmination of the St Peter's Cricket Club 'Tour of Light' initiative, and follows a challenge laid down by the club's honorary president Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Welby said on June 23, "I was delighted to meet members of the St Peter's Cricket Club during a recent visit to Rome, and am greatly looking forward to welcoming them to Canterbury in September for what will be an historic occasion."

He thanked the Kent County Cricket Club for offering the use of its

"I also pray that the match will draw attention to the very serious problem of modern slavery and human trafficking, which our two churches are working closely together to combat through the work of the Global Freedom Network."

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said, "'If you want to arrive first, run alone. If you want to go far, walk together.'

"For this sporting initiative I recall this Kenyan proverb, as it states so simply our need for teamwork, and with clear reference to the charitable aspect chosen."

He said human trafficking is "a plague which hurts most those who are left alone and abandoned.

"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'.

(Photo: Holy See website)Vatican cricket team

"Look at the great success of the World Cup in Brazil! We do well to recall this in our pastoral work."

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