.- The Catholic Church in England and Wales will celebrate special Masses to open the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games, which begin on July 27.
James Parker, Catholic Executive Coordinator for the 2012 Games, said many past Olympians and sports professionals from across the world and the London area are Catholics who “take in the thrill of the games.”
“These men and women better than most know the importance of keeping God firmly positioned within their sporting journey,” he said.
“They are being invited to join the rest of the Catholic community in giving thanks to God for the many opportunities that the Games present not only to our nation but to the whole world at this time.”
A July 28 Mass at Westminster Cathedral will celebrate the start of the 30th Olympic Games.
A Mass for the start of the 14th Paralympic Games will take place at St. George’s Cathedral in Southwark on Sept. 8.
The organizers ask attendees to be aware that transportation is likely to be difficult, especially around Westminster Cathedral during the Olympic Games.
The Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark and the Bishop of Brentwood will be present at the Masses. Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the apostolic nuncio to England and Wales, will attend the Olympic Mass, as will Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nievez of Puerto Rico.
Neither Mass requires a ticket and there will be no reserved seats.
Parker said the Catholic bishops hope to see people from many different cultures in attendance and have asked those who can to consider coming in their national dress.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has created the Catholic 2012 Office to reach out to attendees of the games.
Invitations to the Mass can be downloaded from the website http://www.Catholic2012.com.