On Monday the bishop of Witbank was given access to the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, one of 10 venues around South Africa that will be used in the international soccer tournament, which begins June 11.
The prelate blessed the 43,000-seat stadium along with a local pastor, Father Roger Masuku, and accompanied by two Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Sister Cecilia Binder and Sister Emily Schmidt.
Stadium workers were diligently preparing for the coming event and security guards were undergoing training as the group of religious passed through the checkpoints to enter the arena.
Bishop Sandri read Psalm 67, and then asked God “to bless this beautiful structure and all who built it and who will use it hopefully in a true spirit of good sportsmanship.”
He walked the expanse of the field, blessing it with Holy Water, and then extending the blessing to the first rows of seats, including those reserved for substitute players and the coaching staff.
The bishop blessed workers and other people who gathered to watch the ceremony, and then ended with a final prayer.