Repurcussions Given to Priest Who Celebrated Soccer Mass

“Fr. Paul Vlaar, a priest in the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam in the Netherlands, was suspended last week following a World Cup-themed Mass he presided over which was seen by his bishop as disrespectful to the Eucharist. Diocesan spokesman Wim Peeters explained that the priest had been warned by the bishop against frivolousness previously.

Bishop Joseph Punt of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam suspended Fr. Vlaar for “failure to respect the sanctity of the Eucharist” after he celebrated the Mass on the morning of the July 11 World Cup final, dressed in an orange chasuble.

Beginning Mass with a referee’s whistle, he consecrated the bread and wine at an altar adorned with flowers and candles in the team colors. He was also flanked by a child-sized soccer goal and banners and flags supporting the Dutch national team. The music chosen for the liturgy had nothing to do with the Eucharistic celebration at all.” – “Dutch Priest Suspended for Celebrating World Cup Mass”, A Catholic View

This article found over on A Catholic View was shocking to me. I cannot believe that an actual priest of the Catholic Church would think that beginning a Mass with a whistle, and hanging up soccer banners and flags would be okay to do. I do not see anything wrong with him sporting orange or having flowers and candles in the teams color, but anything more than that is way over the top. It is tough to see him punished for just having national pride, but there is a place and time for everything and Mass is a time for worship and praising God, not soccer.

David Silva Thanks Our Lady of Mount Carmel for Spanish Cup Triumphs

This article I found on Catholic News Agency was a wonderful one to see. So often we hear athletes today thanking their parents, coaches, and mentors for their triumphs, which is by no means something wrong. However, it is great to see somebody thanking a religious figure for victory. David Silva and his family seem to have a close relationship with Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patron saint of their home.

“Spanish soccer star David Silva, who played on the nation’s winning World Cup team is spending the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel thanking her for the victory last Sunday in South Africa.

The midfielder, who is from the Canary Islands, promised he would participate in the celebrations honoring Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patroness of his hometown of Arguineguin.

Silva’s grandmother told reporters the family has a great devotion to Our Lady and that they were very “nervous” during the World Cup final. So much so, she said, that she could not watch the end.  “I just held on to Our Lady of Mount Carmel … Who would have thought that when this 14 year-old boy who I raised left my home he would achieve this? I am so proud,” she added.

Upon arriving in his home town, Silva told reporters he wanted to join the Marian festivities, as has always been his custom.

At the beginning of July, celebrations in honor of Our Lady began taking place on the islands.  In Silva’s hometown of Arguineguin there is a long procession through the streets, which are covered in rugs made especially for the occasion.” – “Soccer Star Thanks Our Lady of Mount Carmel for Spain’s World Cup Victory”

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.