October 13, 2009.
As South Africa prepares for one of the biggest sports events of its history, the Church, too, is having a hand in the preparations for next year’s World Cup.
It’s called “Church on the Ball,” and it’s the Catholic church’s way of getting involved in next year’s games by welcoming thousands of people to the historic event. Cardinal Wilfrid Napier
Archbishop of Durban, South Africa"The Church on the Ball is a very catchy title way of saying, “Look, we realize that the World Cup is coming to us next year, we realize that lots of people are going to need spiritual support and that we need to prepare ourselves for that.”
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier is the Archbishop of Durban, South Africa. He says with the influx of people expected at next year’s games, the Church wants to be part of the welcoming process.
Church on the Ball’s website will feature information on Mass times, for example, so that those Catholics coming from around the world to see the games can also know where to go celebrate during their stay.Cardinal Wilfrid Napier
Archbishop of Durban, South Africa“At the local level, for instance, in Durban we know that we are already quite a cosmopolitan community there, and we expect that we’re going to get some of the Latin American countries playing there. So we are trying to get together a number of priests that are fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, French.”
The Church is also taking the opportunity to be vocal in raising awareness on social issues that plague Africa like prostitution and human trafficking, especially child trafficking by posting information on the website on how to keep children and family safe while on their visit to the 2010 World Cup.