GOD’S CHEERING FOR EURO 2012
Euro 2012 is a big event in the sport world. Soon the best footballers will arrive to our country from the whole Europe, followed by sport fans, tourists, journalists who will co-create this big event.
The Catholic Church wants to use the atmosphere of the sport event to point out to God and promote Christian values.
Football and spiritual life
The connection between football and spiritual life is obvious. This connection is inscribed in folk proverbs: ‘In a healthy body – healthy spirit’, ‘Sport is health’. John Paul II paid attention to these connections. ‘Sport reveals not only rich physical possibilities of a man but also his intellectual and spiritual abilities. It is not based only on physical strength or muscular efficiency but it has also a soul, therefore it must fully show its image (sermon ‘Images and the spirit of sport’, 28 October 2000)’. Therefore the Church on this occasion of the big sport event in our country wants to remind about a spiritual dimension of sport and rules of fair play and good competition. In bookshops many publications have appeared on this topic, edited in Catholic bookshops. Preparations are being done in various levels. The nationwide committee of preparations for Euro 2012 was created. It is represented by Bishop Marian Florczyk, a delegate of the Polish Episcopal Conference for pastoral ministry of sportsmen. It is created by all diocesan priests of sportsmen from dioceses where matches will be played and also the members of the association ‘Parafiada’ and Salesian Sport Organisation. The purpose of the actions of the committee is to promote ethical cheering, spiritual and physical human development, the role of sport as integration among people and a positive influence of football stars on the youth’s life. The detailed actions were undertaken also by four dioceses where matches will be played, that is, Warsaw, Poznań, Wrocław, Gdańsk and also Cracow considered by sport fans as the fifth city of Euro; for, teams of England, Holland and Italy are going to stay here. Each of these cities has prepared a special evangelical offer.
An offer for sport fans
Spiritual experience of the Europe Championships in Football in the cities where matches are will be played, solemn Holy Masses will begin in cathedrals: on 6 June at 6pm the Holy Mass with vespers and a procession in the cathedral in Poznań, on 7 June at 9 o’clock in the cathedral of St. Baptist John in Wroclaw. There are going to be Holy Masses and Divine services in different languages especially for foreign sport fans in the cities where matches will be played, in the assigned churches near stadiums. Sport fans from abroad will be able to attend confession in various languages. Information about it where and when and what time one can pray in particular languages will be placed in special information bulletins for sport fans, edited by the cities. In Poznań creating the so-called a sphere of prayer has been planned. In three assigned churches located near a stadium, sport fans will have an opportunity for a peaceful prayer, both before and after the competitions. In the Poznan sphere of sport fans, created on the Wolność Square and in Kasprowicz Park, a sphere of Jesus will be created, similar to the Jesus Station accompanying the Woodstock Station. Evangelisers wearing special T-shirts will go to sport fans and guests. In Wroclaw a concert stage ‘New Evangelisation’ will be organised on Ostrów Tumski, on which there will be evangelical concerts, pantomimes, prayers and integration dances. There is also planned a concert Fair Play with the participation of bands representing various religions and countries of teams playing in Wroclaw. In the City of Sport Fans and on Ostrów Tumski there will be special tents of information of the Spiritual Facilities of Euro where leaflets will be given away and there will be a possibility to talk about religion.
Among sport fans there are going to be Catholics, Greek-Catholics, the Orthodox and Protestants. In Wroclaw the representatives of Christian Churches of the city joined the actions preparing the Spiritual Facilities of Euro.
In Warsaw sport fans and football teams can use an ecumenical chapel which has been opened recently at the National Stadium.
Residents have not been forgotten
The offer of the Church will concern not only arriving sport fans but also the residents of the cities. – We also want to do something for ourselves, for the Wroclaw environment of believers – assures Robert Ruszczak, an organiser of the Spiritual Facilities of Euro in Wroclaw. – There is a chance to feel the power of the community during this sport event, as well as the unity among Catholics related to various religious movements in the Church. We have invited academic pastoral ministry to the cooperation, as well as charismatic and prayer groups, and Catholic youth organisations.
The time of the competitions can’t be favourable to the integration of families. Men mostly cheering at stadiums, watching TV devote very little time to their families. But an idea was created that families can join cheering and try their strength in family competitions of computer games, in a TV competition Family Cup – ‘Family is also a sport team’. Organisers in Wroclaw suggest family going together to the concert of the ‘Śląsk’ band of concert of classical music ‘Verbum cum musica’ or ‘Tumsk Evenings’ connected with lectures about sport, among the others, sport in Bible.
In Gdansk there will be evangelical actions on the so-called islands of culture. In particular evenings there will be performances with songs or dance in various parts of the city. On 7 June on Długi Targ in Gdańsk there will be an action ‘Catholics in the street’ whose purpose is to evangelise the residents.
Special web sites have been created which concern the actions of the Church for Euro 2012: www.2012.org.pl, www.diecezja.gda.pl, www.dzeuro.pl, www.niedziela.pl – a special service the Spiritual Sphere Euro 2012.