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The communities of two towns, one in France, the other in Germany, have drawn together in a profoundly Christian response to last week’s air disaster. Their gesture found particular resonance in the days leading up to Holy Week
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Churches are to be open all day in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games, which start tonight, and a daily Mass will be said at the athletes’ village for participants and officials.
Churches near the games and in the city centre will also hold special services for competitors and visitors. Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia invited athletes and visitors to “celebrate that gift and proclaim the dignity, respect and purpose that God bestows on all people, no matter their ability or nationality.”
Describing sport as “a gift from God”, the archbishop urged spectators to attend daily liturgies at churches including Christ the King near Hampden Park, St Joseph’s near Tollcross Aquatic Centre and Sacred Heart near the village. A special Commonwealth Games prayer, dedicated to Glasgow’s patron saint, Mungo, the sixth-century founder of the city, calls on sportsmen and women to be “beacons of light”, helping others to see.
In a city where some sport has been the focus of sectarian division, the Church is emphasising unity of purpose and friendship. The archbishop said he hoped that visitors, having experienced the best in Scottish hospitality, will “return home inspired to play your part in building a more just and compassionate society.” The Games run from 23 July to 3 August.