[US] The World Cup is a global celebration, on a par with the Olympic Games. As a global showcase, it is an opportunity to bring people and cultures together.
But while we can all appreciate the talents of wealthy footballers, we are also encouraged not to forget the needs of those living in poverty, including many in Brazil, which is hosting the tournament.
Here are the thoughts of the Most Revd Francisco de Assis da Silva, Primate of Brazil:
Brazil and football are almost synonyms. We often say that Brazilians are born with football in their DNA. Football is a cultural trademark of the country.
This year we have the World Cup in Brazil (12 June to 13 July), and around it there have been many demonstrations – not against the tournament itself, but against the lack of investment in public services that guarantee a better quality of life for the Brazilian people.
The people are asking: if the government and private sector can invest so much on the construction of stadia and infrastructure for the World Cup, why can’t they invest in public services, such as transport, education and health?
The World Cup should be an opportunity for world cultures to meet and celebrate, and we pray that this larger goal is reached.
But, equally, we hope the government and local authorities will understand the need for a programme of investment that serves the majority of the population, rather than just supporting a single month-long event.
May God enlighten our leaders for a wise answer to these demands. As Brazil grows economically, it should also grow in the field of citizenship.
Prayers for the World Cup, by Archbishop Francisco de Assis da Silva:
- Lord, bless the athletes, their coaches and all those involved in the World Cup so that no evil might happen to them.
- Father, bless Brazil during the World Cup so that every visitor would be treated with kindness and loving care.
- Father, we remember those in Brazil who struggle to make ends meet. May the government invest in essential services for all communities.
- Father, as we enjoy the skills of the players, many of whom are paid so well, may we remember the plight of the poor, in Brazil and around the world.
- Lord, as we enjoy the World Cup, grant fair play and respect for all, so that the tournament might inspire peace around the world.
- Lord, we give thanks for the Us-supported work of the Anglican Church in Brazil, working to empower communities in Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon.
- Father, as we reflect on the dedication and excellence of the World Cup players, may we have this same dedication for the kingdom of God!
Read the comments of church-goers from Brazil's City of God on the merits of the World Cup.