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The Vatican's 'cricket' team gets ready to play against London's Anglican team

Sports are universal. They have the ability to motivate and inspire unparalleled excitement. Over the past year, time and time again,  the Pope has highlighted  the spiritual dimension of athletics.  POPE FRANCIS June 7th "It's beautiful when a parish has a sports team. If it doesn't have one, something is off. If there's no sports team, there's something missing.â?  Sports and athletics are also part of the Vatican. In 2013, its Cricket Team was born. It's not that popular in Europe, but it's very popular in Asia.  Now, sports and religion are joining forces for a good cause. In September the Vatican's Cricket team will play against its counterpart in London, the Anglican team.  MSGR. MELCHOR SíNCHEZ DE TOCA Secretary, Pontifical Council for Culture "It's a way to promote ecumenism through sports, by highlighting the common roots between the Church of Rome and the Church of England. Along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, we agreed that all proceeds will promote projects we both work in, like fighting against human trafficking and modern slavery.â?  Before this match, the Vatican will have two other games, one against a team of journalists and the other against Britain's Royal Household, which represents Queen Elizabeth.  The Vatican's team includes priests and seminarians studying in Rome. It's not an official league, but the team plays in friendly matches.  MSGR. MELCHOR SíNCHEZ DE TOCA Secretary, Pontifical Council for Culture "Several English teams that visit Italy, have asked to play a friendly game against our team. We welcome it and we hope it continues.â?  In the future, once the Vatican team is more established, it hopes to play against other teams of different religions. It's a basic and friendly way to promote inter-religious dialogue, where the starting rule is simply to have fun and play fair.   MAE/KLH  AA JM -PR Up: YJA