As an Argentine, the Holy Father probably wouldnâ€™t get the metaphors, but he might do soon as the Vatican is about to form its own cricket club.
Officials at the Pontifical Council for Culture, which has a section dedicated to sport, is setting up the first ever Vatican club and tournament in Rome. The initiative is the idea of Australiaâ€™s ambassador to the Holy See, John McCarthy, an avid cricket fan.
Already one match has been played between two Vatican universities â€“ the Maria Mater Ecclesiae International Pontifical College and the Pontifical Urbaniana University â€“ on a pitch near Romeâ€™s Ciampino airport.
â€œIt was an interesting match,â€ says Xavarian Father Theodore Mascarenhas, an Indian official at the Pontifical Council for Culture who will chair the new Vatican cricket board. â€œThey played a Twenty-Twenty and Ubaniana won by just one run.â€
The plan is to extend other twenty over matches to more Rome colleges and even further afield. â€œWe hope to have at least six teams,â€ says Father Mascarenhas. The underlying aim of the initiative, he says, is to start â€œa kind of inter-cultural dialogueâ€.
Players will be drawn from the many seminaries and pontifical universities in Rome, as well as Vatican officials. Father Mascarenhas believes around 400 cricket fans reside in the Eternal City. They include seminarians from the Venerable English College of course, but also many others, often missionaries, from the Indian sub-continent and Africa, as well as Australia, the West Indies and New Zealand. [More]