The Archbishop of Mexico has joined Pope Francis in calling on the World Cup to be played in an atmosphere of cordiality, and is encouraging fans to pray for the men playing in the tournament.
“We are called to make sports an occasion to come together and dialogue, overcoming all barriers of language, race and culture,” Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera said June 15 during Mass at the Cathedral of Mexico City.
He called on players to display good sportsmanship, and called for prayers that they act responsibly both on and off the field.
Sports help to promote human and social values, Cardinal Rivera said, and their impact should not be minimized or limited by who wins or loses.
“Sports can contribute to peaceful understanding among peoples and to strengthening the civilization of love,” Cardinal Rivera added.
He also congratulated all dads on Father’s Day, commending them to St. Joseph as the example in raising their children.
Dads should put on their “jerseys,” and fulfill their responsibilities towards their kids, he said.
“Congratulations to them all. And let us also pray for those dads who haven’t put their jerseys on yet, who have not understood yet the most important part of their vocation, which is the great mission God has entrusted to them to give love, to give love to their children.”
In his own message to the World Cup, sent to Brazil June 12, Pope Francis had said that soccer "is not only a form of entertainment, but also – and above all I would say – a tool to communicate values, promote the good of the human person and help build a more peaceful and fraternal society."
He prayed that the World Cup will “take place with complete serenity and tranquility, always with mutual respect, solidarity and brotherhood among men and women who recognize themselves as members of the same family.”
So far in the tournament, Mexico has played Cameroon, 1-0, and drew in their match against Brazil. They will play Croatia June 23.
The U.S. beat Ghana 2-1 on June 16, and is scheduled to play Portugal June 22.
Wednesday's matches are Australia v. the Netherlands; Spain v. Chile; and Cameroon v. Croatia.