- Published on 09 September 2011
In the countdown to the London Games in 2012, school children in the diocese are taking part in a "Relay of Prayer" which will travel over 300 miles, visit 208 schools, and finish at a special service in Salford Cathedral on July 6th 2012.
The aim of the relay is to mark the significance of the Olympic Games by looking at the links between religion and sport as well as celebrating their common ability to bring people together.
Each of the schools will be twinned with one of the 200 countries competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Schools will research their adoptive country to find out about the faiths, customs and practices of the area and learn about the lives of children and young people in that country. They will also discover which athletes their ‘twinned’ country is taking to the Games and remember them and all the Olympic and Paralympic athletes in their prayers and assemblies.
The schools will discover which country they have been teamed up with during a special launch event on Thursday 15th September at Thornleigh Salesian College when ambassadors from each school will witness their twinned countries being drawn from an Electronic Hat. At that event, Bishop Brain will be blessing a specially-made Olympic Torch that will be taken to each school in the diocese from the beginning of Advent until July next year.
The event is being organised by the Diocesan Departments for Evangelisation and Formation, and will be attended by celebrities including opera star Sean Ruane, the World Freestyle Football champion Dan Magness, Bolton Wanderers manager, Owen Coyle, Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins (who has a special responsibility for all Olympic events in Manchester) and several Olympic athletes including Andrew Gordon-Brown who represented South Africa in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and now works at Stonyhurst College.
Schools will then have three months to prepare for the start of the Relay of Prayer, which will begin on Monday November 28th 2011 at Thorneyholme Primary school, Dunsop Bridge, Clitheroe in the north of the diocese before making its way south.
The baton will be carried from the first school to the next school on the route where the schools‘ ambassadors will present an assembly about their adoptive country before handing over the Prayer Relay Baton ready for its next leg. Schools may choose a variety of ways to transport the baton between schools – some will walk, others may run or take to their bikes.
Details of the route and its schedule stops will soon be available.