St. Thérèse Relics to Visit Africa for World Cup

Saint's Youth Fan Club Initiates Pilgrimage

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, MAY 5, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The relics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux will be in South Africa for the first time ever during while that country hosts the 2010 FIFA World Cup.



A press release from the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference announced today that the relics will be in and around Johannesburg from June 27 to July 12.

The international soccer tournament will be held in that same city from June 11 to July 11.

The communiqué noted that the youth from St. Francis of Assisi in Yeoville, a suburb of Johannesburg, spearheaded the initiative because they are "deeply inspired by the saint in their faith, and encouraged by her spiritual 'little way,' as she is one of the youngest saints of all times."

This initiative is one of many promoted and organized by the Catholic Church in that region during the World Cup.

In fact, the junior choir of St. Francis Parish are producing an original song, "Pass the Ball to Life," to welcome the relics and mark the World Cup.

The relics will arrive to the country on June 25, and will remain there for six weeks, traveling throughout South Africa across the provinces of Limpopo, Gauteng, Free State, Eastern Cape, and Western Cape.

Pilgrims are encouraged to follow "The St. Thérèse Route" through the country, on an itinerary that is still being finalized.

The communiqué expressed the hope that the saint's relics "will inspire people, strengthen their faith, and challenge all of us to live our faith and follow our vocations as St. Thérèse did."

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For more information: www.sttheresesouthafrica2010.com