World Cup trophy dedicated to St. James

I personally thought Iniesta won Spain the World Cup.  But apparently, it wasn’t him, nor Torres, nor any of the other superstars that play for the Spanish national team.  According to the President of Spanish football, the party responsible is in fact–St. James the Apostle.

Spain dedicated the 2010 World Cup trophy to St. James in a ceremony held at St. James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela on December 27th.  Officiating the dedication was President of Spanish Football Angel Maria Villar, and the couch of the national team, Vicente del Bosque.

According to Catholic News Agency:

[Villar] recalled that during his last visit to the cathedral in April 2010 he prayed for the success of the team at the World Cup.

“We asked a lot from you, but we trusted that you would hear our prayers. And you did.  We are here today with the World Cup in our hands to dedicate it to you, St. James, because you helped us to become world champions,” Villar said.

“We have come here as victors of the World Cup, traveling down different roads from the ones you crossed on your way to Galicia … Our paths have been different and we have traveled them in faraway lands, 12 hours and thousands of miles away by plane, in South Africa, a land our soccer team barely knew, and yet a land in which our soccer team experienced its greatest glory […] “We won it by following the paths you showed us 2,000 years ago.  These paths are none other than those of humility, kindness, generosity, solidarity, patience, temperance, faith and hope in what we are doing.  Thus we traveled to South Africa and thus we return home to you, in Santiago de Compostela.”

The Way of St. James–Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez’s new film

How exciting! Check out this excerpt from catholicnewsagency.com’s article detailing Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen’s latest career choice:

Director Emilio Estevez and his father, Martin Sheen, have debuted their new film, “The Way,” in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The movie, which focuses on the Way of St. James, is being dubbed “the great film of the Year of St. James.”

Culture Minister of Andalusia Roberto Varela remarked that the movie is “a beautiful story” that perfectly represents what the Way of St. James means.  “It exemplifies the physical and exterior journey, but above all the journey of interior transformation,” he added.

Filmed during September, October and November of 2009 along the ancient Way of St. James that leads to the city of Santiago de Compostela, “The Way” recounts the story of Tom Avery, an American doctor who travels to France after learning of the death of his son, killed in the Pyrenees while walking the Way of St. James.  He decides to finishes his son’s journey and experiences his own spiritual awakening.

The film was shot entirely on location, and aims to be shown in 150 theatres across Spain and later in U.S. theaters.

World Cup Champs to Make Religious Journey

“Spanish soccer player Andres Iniesta, who scored the winning goal during the World Cup final in South Africa, has promised to walk the Way of St. James, which leads to Santiago de Compostela.The Way of St. James is a pilgrimage route that for centuries brought the faithful from across Europe to the city of Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of the saint are venerated.

According to the Spanish newspaper, Marca, months before the 2010 World Cup, the members of the Spanish team sent the newspaper sealed envelopes with the promises they would keep if they won the title.

Marca opened the envelopes after Spain’s historic victory on Sunday and found that Iniesta, along with Fernando Torres and Carlos Marchena said they would walk the Way of St. James.

Iniesta also revealed his promise in an interview prior to the World Cup.  Speaking on Spanish television he said he would make the pilgrimage “somehow…I’ll do it however I have to!” His teammate Sergio Busquets, who was with him, made the same promise.” – “Soccer Player Who Scored Winning World Cup Goal Promises to Make Pilgrimage”, Catholic News Agency

This was a really cool story to read up on. It makes me happy to see these players keeping their word on the promises they made before the World Cup started, and it is also great to see that they made such religiously influenced promises as well. It really shows that a lot of athletes today still look to God and Christ for strength on the field and in whatever they do. It has been said that many fans will make the pilgrimage with their beloved, World Cup winning players. Saint James’ feast falls on the 25th of this month, and Pope Benedict XVI will be in Santiago de Compostela too.