Players representing many of the world’s major religions will play an inter-faith cricket match today on the Nursery Ground at Lord’s. Catholics and Anglicans of the Christian faith will play a team of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs.
The Vatican’s cricket team, officially known as St Peter’s Cricket Club, are currently embarking on their Fourth Light of Faith Tour, which began earlier this week.
They will be joining Members of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s team to play against a UK Multi-Faith team in a T20 match on the Nursery Ground. The match will also see the launch of the ‘Peace at the Crease’ initiative, which aims to use the popularity of cricket as a tool to promote peace, bring communities together and support progress and development.
On the occasion of St Peter’s Cricket Club’s Fourth Light of Faith Tour, His Holiness Pope Francis sends prayerful best wishes to all the players and those present at Lord’s. He prays that these events will contribute to the promotion of peace and concord:
“Because the language of sports is universal; it extends across borders, language, race, religion and ideology; it possesses the capacity to unite people, together, by fostering dialogue and acceptance (Address to the European Olympic Committee, 23 November, 2013). Commending all taking part to the maternal intercession to Our Lady of Walsingham, as a pledge of peace and joy Pope Francis willingly invokes an abundance of Almighty God’s blessing.”
His Holiness Pope Francis sends prayerful best wishes to all the players and those present at Lord’s
Guy Lavender, Chief Executive & Secretary of MCC, said, “I look forward to welcoming the two teams to Lord’s today for the inter-faith cricket match and for the launch of the ‘Peace at the Crease’ initiative.
“I am delighted that MCC is able to support this very worthwhile venture, which is aimed at bringing communities together on the cricket field. I am sure it will be a great success and I hope that the match will be enjoyed by players and spectators alike.”
The Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Baroness Scotland, said; “The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people, 60% of whom are under the age of 30. Many things bind the 53 countries who come from 6 different regions in our world and form the Commonwealth; shared values, a common language, common law, a similar parliamentary system and unique institutions.
“Cricket is another of these important common bonds. When used strategically cricket can make a valuable contribution to building communities, promoting social cohesion and gender equality and connecting people across religions, cultures, races and regions, binding them together with and to people they would not otherwise meet or wish to understand.
“I'm determined to use the Commonwealth’s shared love of cricket coupled with our expertise in how to use sport effectively as a tool for development and peace building to help rebuild and strengthen relationships between the generations and communities within the Commonwealth. As many of you know it was to that purpose that I have sought to create the "Faith in the Commonwealth Initiative” and the Commonwealth Community Cricket Cups.”
Sport has a unique power to break down the barriers that can exist between us
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, said: “Cricket unites many nations around the world. This historic tour by St Peters CC is a celebration of sport’s power to connect people from all backgrounds, countries and religions.
“We will showcase this spirit once more when we welcome the world to England and Wales for the ICC Cricket World Cup next summer. I wish the Vatican cricket team the best of luck on their tour.”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Sport has a unique power to break down the barriers that can exist between us. London has a rich and diverse mix of people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and religions. Here, we pride ourselves on celebrating our differences.
“The inter-faith cricket match at Lord’s is yet another demonstration of sport’s ability to bring people together in a positive way – and I wish the Vatican Cricket Club a hugely successful and enjoyable tour.”
Senior Independent Director of the ECB, Professor Lord Patel of Bradford, said: “I believe that sport has the ability to break down boundaries and bring communities together. Cricket, particularly with its rich and diverse history, is a great example of this. As a lifelong cricket fan and ECB Board member, I am pleased that cricket has been the catalyst to bring this historic tour of the St Peters CC – the Vatican cricket team to the UK, spending a week playing and engaging in a series of games and events which will unite people from all faiths, cultures, ethnicities and generations through the wonderful game we all love, reinforcing ECB’s aim to ensure that cricket is a game for everyone.”