.- The South African Bishops Conference announced today that the relics of St. Thèrése of Lisieux will be in South Africa during the upcoming FIFA Football World Cup.
From June 27 to July 12, the relics of St. Thèrése will travel around South Africa's capital Johannesburg, corresponding with the time frame of the international sports event.
“The whole Church of South Africa is expressing the hope that the coming of the Relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux will inspire people, strengthen their faith, and challenge all of us to live our faith and follow our vocations/callings as St Thérèse did,” the bishops said in a statement on Wednesday.
The news of the visit was reported on the South African bishops Church on the Ball website, which is dedicated to promoting a Catholic presence during the World Cup.
According to the bishops, the initiative to host the relics came from the Catholic youth at the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi in the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, who revere St. Therese for her “Little Way” and were inspired by the fact that the saint is one of the youngest in Church history.
A junior choir at St. Francis of Assisi plans to welcome the relics with a song referencing the World Cup, titled “Pass the Ball to Life.”
After residing in Johannesburg, the relics will travel “The Saint Therese Route,” stopping in the South African provinces of Limpopo, Gauteng, Free State, Eastern Cape, and Western Cape. The French saint's relics will remain in South Africa until the end of September.
The bishops are encouraging Catholic schools and parishes in each region to greet the relics with special events and programs that will enrich “the spiritual and social” aspects of the Catholic community.