Mass at Westminster Cathedral Celebrates Start of Olympic Games

Reflect on the Theme of Unity Among Nations

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WESTMINSTER, England, JULY 30, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Worshippers from around the world came together to give thanks for the Olympic Games at a Mass held in Westminster Cathedral last Saturday.

During the Mass, the congregation heard the message shared by Archbishop Vincent Nichols: "Use your body for the glory of God".  Speaking on the central theme of this year’s Day for Life Sunday celebrated by the Catholic Church, the Archbishop reminded the congregation "that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, enhancing the deepest meaning of the achievements of sport, that of giving glory to their Maker".

In his homily, Archbishop Nichols reflected on the 100 Days of Peace, encouraging schools to train for peace just as athletes have been training for their events. "The classic virtues of temperance, fortitude, justice and courage were explored as the foundation of true human achievement, whether in citizenship or sport," he said. 

Archbishop Nichols said that the recent establishment in this country of the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, launched by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to the United Kingdom in 2010, can be "the vehicle through which our Catholic community can help our society build a legacy worthy of these Games."

The British prelate reminded the congregation to "reawaken in ourselves the belief that our bodies too are always of beauty in the eyes of God and are destined to rise again to eternal life, at the  moment to come, when all is made new in the power of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Preceding his homily, Archbishop Nichols read a message from the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for the 2012 Olympic Games given during his Angelus Address in Rome on July 22.

The Service was attended by almost a 1000 people from all over the world, including dignitaries such as the Ambassador of Paraguay, High Commissioner of Jamaica, High Commissioner of Trinidad, and international Chaplains to the Olympic Teams. Many worshipers came in their national attire. The Olympic Torch was brought in with the procession and a sculpture of five Olympic Rings which was placed outside the Cathedral.

"The Mass...helped worshippers to make sense of the deeper significance of the Games. What became particularly evident is that for 17 days the Olympic Games brings the world together as one. Yet for us as Catholics we have the profound privilege of experiencing this global unity at each and every celebration of the Mass,” James Parker, Catholic Executive Coordinator of the 2012 Games said.