As part of the Catholic Church's engagement alongside the 2012 Games, there will be a Mass on Saturday 28 July to celebrate the start of the 30th Olympic Games at Westminster Cathedral at 2:30pm. A second Mass of thanksgiving in honour of the 14th Paralympic Games will take place at St George's Cathedral in Southwark on Saturday 8 September 2012 at 12:30pm.
The Catholic 2012 Office has now sent out open invitations to Catholics to attend either or both of the Catholic Church’s official Masses. The Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark and the Bishop of Brentwood will be present at these unique celebrations and diocesan bishops from around the country have been invited to concelebrate.
The Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency the Most Reverend Antonio Mennini, and the Archbishop of Puerto Rico, the Most Reverend Roberto González Nieves, will also be in attendance at the Olympic Mass of Celebration in Westminster Cathedral.
Tickets are not needed to attend either Masses and seats will not be reserved. It is hoped that as many people as possible will take the opportunity to come and celebrate and give thanks to God for the Games. Invitations can be downloaded from www.catholic2012.com. Attendees are asked to be aware that transportation is likely to be difficult on both of these Saturdays and especially around Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 28 July.
James Parker, Catholic Executive Coordinator for the 2012 Games, stated that “There will be many past Olympians and professional sportspeople from across the globe who are Catholic and in the London area to take in the thrill of the Games. These men and women better than most know the importance of keeping God firmly positioned within their sporting journey. They are being invited to join the rest of the Catholic community in giving thanks to God for the many opportunities that the Games present not only to our nation but to the whole world at this time. By extending an open invitation, the bishops hope to see as widespread a number of cultures as possible in attendance with those who are able to considering coming in their national dress.”
Attendees will benefit from visiting website by clicking here to ensure they have carefully planned their journey. Parishes and schools across dioceses that are putting on special Masses, liturgies, sporting or community events to celebrate and engage with the 2012 Games can get free publicity for their event by inserting details onto the More Than Gold events database on the webpage www.morethangold.org.uk.
The Catholic 2012 Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference is working jointly with More Than Gold, the churches’ temporary charity, to support the Games, to ensure we all make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity the 2012 Games offers. The John Paul II Foundation for Sport, the Church’s legacy project of the Games, is also up and running and ready to run with the legacy baton once the Games have ended.