As we in northcentral and western Wisconsin deal with unpleasant and uncomfortable temperatures and more and more political “hot air” blowing our way, it might be nice to take a look at what’s happening with our brothers and sisters “across the pond” in preparation for the Olympic Games in London that start on Friday, July 27 and continue until Sunday, Aug. 12.

Always exciting to watch, the Summer Olympics have provided some interesting forms of “new evangelization” in London and its environs. The Catholic Church in England and Wales initiated More Than Gold, an ecumenical program, that enables Britain’s Christian communities to engage with the 2012 Games in the hope that churches will taste the excitement of reaching their wider communities in fresh and ongoing ways in Jesus’ name.

More Than Gold was originally launched in Britain in 2007 in the presence of various significant members of Parliament, His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor (Cardinal-Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster [London]) and Archbishop Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury).

To date, 15 denominations ranging from the Orthodox to the Seventh Day Adventists to the black-led independent churches are all jointly praying, planning and working to serve the 2012 Games under the banner of More Than Gold.

More Than Gold is concentrating on three specific ways of making the most of the 2012 Games: community engagement, hospitality and service.

In 2012, More Than Gold serves as an interface between the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Games’ organizing committee, and churches;More Than Gold programs, however, have no official relationship with the committee.

As part of the Catholic Church’s engagement alongside the 2012 Games, there will be two large official Masses. The first will mark the start of the 30th Olympic Games at Westminster Cathedral (in London) on Saturday, July 28 at 2:30 p.m. The second will be offered in September.

So, if you’re planning to beat the heat and head over to England, you may want to take note of some solid gold Gospel in action on the part of the Church!

… and I’ll see you at Sunday Mass!

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