A South Africa bishop blessed the Mbombela World Cup stadium on May 24, one of the locations for the international sports event that will kick off on June 11.
The recently elected Bishop Guiseppe Sandri of Witbank blessed the 43,000 seat stadium with the permission of South Africa's acting deputy director, according to “Church on the Ball,” a web initiative dedicated to promoting the Catholic presence in the country during the games. The Mbombela Stadium is slated to hold the first and second round matches.
Accompanied by a local parish priest and two Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Bishop Sandri went through gate security checks and was led by the local municipality deputy manager into the stadium where workers were putting the final touches on the arena.
Bishop Sandri then read Psalm 67 and asked the Lord to “bless this beautiful structure and all who built it and who will use it hopefully in a true spirit of good sportsmanship.” As nearby workers looked on attentively, the bishop then walked around the fields with holy water, blessing the first rows of seats which will be reserved for the players and coaching staff.
After the blessing, Bishop Sandri offered a prayer and was warmly thanked by the municipality deputy.