First there was the Italian TV ad showing Rio’s famous statue of Christ wearing a soccer uniform.
As CNS notes:
A statue of the infant Jesus, dressed in a replica of the Mexican national soccer team’s uniform, is displayed at St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in Mexico City June 10. (CNS photo/Daniel Aguilar, Reuters)
The pope is getting into the act, too:
As the World Cup was about to kick off, Pope Francis called on fans and competitors to celebrate the event as an opportunity to promote dialogue, respect and peace.
He also warned against all forms of discrimination on the sidelines, in the stands and on the field: “Let no one become isolated and feel excluded! Watch out! ‘No’ to segregation, ‘no’ to racism!”
The pope made his comments in Portuguese in a video message aired on Brazilian television June 11, the eve of the start of the world soccer championship in Brazil that runs until the final match July 13.
“It is with great joy,” the pope said, that he could greet all “soccer lovers,” organizers, players, coaches and fans who will be following the matches on television, radio and the Internet.