Students are bowled over to be having a visit and coaching session from the Vatican’s own cricket team.
Members of St Peter’s XI, accompanied by members of Batley’s Mount Cricket Club, joined in the brief visit.
The sporting highlights of the Vatican XI’s Yorkshire tour will be playing a Twenty20 match with a multi-faith community XI from Batley at the town’s PKWA Centre on the afternoon of Sunday, 18th September, and the following evening facing top Mid-Yorkshire Sunday League club, Mount CC, in a Twenty20 match on the ‘hallowed ground’ of Headingley.
With interfaith issues firmly on their agenda, both teams are hoping to illustrate to the area’s young people that they can be true to their own faiths, yet at the same time cherish diversity. The tour was arranged to show that a love of cricket can unite and empower people regardless of nationality or faith. Their intentions are: ‘To be ambassadors for our respective religions and correct misunderstandings, continuing to build on the fellowship and the generosity of spirit that we have experienced on and off the field, and extending this to the wider community.’
The touring Vatican XI is made up of an international team of Catholic priests and seminarians. Two are English, 8 are from India and 1 from Pakistan. They are all studying for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome. One of the team members is West Yorkshire-born Rev. Elliott Wright, who played for Yorkshire Schools’ teams before training for the priesthood. Off-spin bowler Elliott knew he wanted to be a priest from the age of 14 and is being ordained in Leeds Cathedral next July. This will give food for thought to the young men in Year 10 at St John Fisher Catholic Academy, as they welcome Elliott and his fellow trainee priests to their school for a special ‘Vocations’ school assembly!