New Vatican cricket club aims to spark intercultural dialogue
By Elise Harris
The official emblem on the Saint Peter's Cricket Club jacket. Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.
The official emblem on the Saint Peter's Cricket Club jacket. Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.

.- The Holy See has launched a new cricket club with the goal of encouraging dialogue between cultures, as well as growing virtue among the athletes, both on and off the field.

“The idea was if we start a cricket club, cricket being so popular in the whole of the East, especially in the Indian sub-continent, we could start a dialogue through cricket,” Father Theodore Mascarenas told CNA in an Oct. 22 interview.

Fr. Mascarenas is a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture, overseeing the departments for Asia, Africa and Ushuaia, and is also the new chairman for the Vatican cricket team, called the Saint Peter's Cricket Club.

The club was originally proposed to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, who suggested the team be named after the Apostle Peter, by Australian ambassador to the Holy See Mr. John McCarthy, and will be composed of the priests and seminarians in Rome.

“There are lots of young seminarians here who have played cricket and some of them are very high quality,” Fr. Mascarenas added, “you won’t believe it when you see them playing.”

Speaking of the decision to start a cricket club, the priest noted that one of the determining factors in founding it was that “a dialogue through cricket meant we could talk to people, to Muslims, to Hindus to Buddhists, to Sects, in the medium of cricket because that’s one language that everybody speaks together.”

Getting to know people, urged Fr. Mascarenas, is the first step in intercultural dialogue, and is also the “most difficult part.”

“Most of our cultural tensions come because we do not know the other. Ignorance is the spark, ignorance is the dynamo, ignorance is the source of almost all fundamentalism, we don’t know the other.”

He reflected that although this first step is challenging, “cricket I think is an easy means” to enter into this dialogue, and expressed his hope of “starting a dialogue over the ocean.”

Another hope of the club, expressed the priest, is that “first, through sports, the priests and seminarians with their exemplary behavior on the field, would be an example of how spirituality influences sport, on the practical level.”

Secondly, Fr. Mascarenas urged that “we hope that seeing priests and seminarians play sports, participate in sports,” that “sports gets an elevated stand, and elevated status, in society.”

The priest emphasized “that sports is not something dirty played for money, but is played as a part of faith, as a part of spirituality,” and that part of the intention is also to promote the adage of “healthy mind and healthy body” amongst those who play.

An Oct. 22 press release announcing the launching of the club revealed that cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, its strongest presence being in the entire Indian sub-continent, as well as Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the West Indies.

With 105 countries currently participating in the sport, cricket is also beginning to have a stronger grip in the countries of Ireland, Canada, Holland, and even some parts of the United States.

Speaking on the global significance of the sport of cricket, Fr. Mascarenas recalled that “when India and Pakistan play cricket, India and Pakistan stop, everybody starts watching the TV and nothing works.”

“It’s really a game that brings passion into people,” he urged, stating that “what baseball has done to America, that’s what cricket is doing to the subcontinent.”

The Saint Peter's Cricket Club currently has several different objectives in which it is working, the first being to organize a tournament amongst the various colleges in Rome, which, according to a survey done earlier this year, will be able to count on roughly 300 players and supporters from the city.

Eventually the club hopes to challenge the Church of England to a match, and aims in the future to play teams from Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist educational institutions in order to fortify relationships and dialogue with various cultural communities.

Tags: Vatican. Sports

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: