The Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte — one of the 12 Brazilian cities hosting World Cup matches — has announced a program of multi-lingual Masses and cultural events for those attending the tournament. Under the theme “Play for Life,” the archdiocese will provide activities throughout the soccer tournament throughout its duration, from June 12 to July 13, it said in a statement released in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. In addition to Masses and concerts, the archdiocese is also organizing seminars and educational campaigns to help fight human trafficking. Masses and Confessions are being offered in Spanish, German, Arabic, and English, as well as in Portuguese. Daniel Cote, a Colombian journalism student who visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy, said, "coming here is like being in heaven. After arriving here, I had no doubt that I was on holy ground, a sacred place." On June 18, Bishop Joao de Medeiro Silva, an auxiliary of Belo Horizonte, said Mass at the Archdiocesan Sanctuary for Perpetual Adoration to begin an all-night vigil, which was attended by hundreds of faithful. The archdiocese announced that “all there prayed taht the World Cup would be a moment of fraternity among the nations, furthering their peace and harmony.” Belo Horizonte is located 270 miles north of Rio de Janeiro; the archdiocese serves 3.3 million faithful, some 70 percent of the population. So far in the tournament, Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 and drew against Mexico. They will play Cameroon June 23. The U.S. beat Ghana 2-1 on June 16, and is scheduled to play Portugal June 22. On June 20, Italy lost to Costa Rica 1-0; Switzerland is matched against France; and Honduras will play Ecuador.
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