Sister Zrno said that before Croatia’s match with Japan in the Round of 16 of Qatar 2022, “together with Father Ivan Dominik Iličić we organized the ‘Rosary for Vatreni’ prayer initiative.”
Vatreni is the nickname of the Croatian soccer team and can be translated as “The Fiery Ones.”
On that day of prayer, said the nun, “young and old people from all over Croatia participated, where everyone said a prayer as part of the rosary and we shared the video on social media so that we could all pray together. And we did it before every game.”
“The grandmother of our national team player Ivan Perišić, who scored the goal in the game against Japan that led us to overtime, also prayed a Hail Mary,” she said.
“During that prayer initiative, I myself had the opportunity to send a video to the coach of our national team, Zlatko Dalić, to whom I addressed myself directly and personally, providing tips and support on behalf of the entire Croatian nation.”
The Catholic faith and Croatia
Zrno recalled that already in 2014 “the then Croatian coach, Igor Štimac, took the players of the Croatian national team to the well-known Marian shrine of Međugorje to prepare for the qualifying match for the World Cup.”
“Today’s coach, Zlatko Dalić, who is not afraid to publicly testify to his faith, continued in this direction,” she continued.
“On Sunday, before the game with Japan, the rector of the most famous Croatian national shrine in Marija Bistrica arrived in Qatar from Croatia. It has been confirmed to the public that the entire Croatian national soccer team went to the Holy Mass celebrated by Father Domagoj Matošević after breakfast.”
The nun also highlighted that “many Croatian national team players testify openly about belonging to the Catholic Church” and stressed that “it’s interesting that captain Luka Modrić wears knee pads with images of his family and Jesus Christ.”
“In addition, at this World Cup in Qatar, the whole world was able to see the Croatian goalkeeper, Dominik Livaković, praying before the penalty shootout,” she said.
(Story continues below)
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This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.