Piazza Cavour, Rimini Photo: St. Miriam
For the faithful flock of Rimini, Saturday was meant to be an evening of prayer in the town's main square, Piazza Cavour. But football had other plans.
Normally, Rimini's traditional Corpus Christi celebrations would attract a large crowd of the faithful to the square.
But this year, the feast has been pushed out of the piazza into the cathedral as it coincides with the Champions League Final, which kicks off just 15 minutes after the start of mass.
A statement on the website of the Diocese of Rimini justified the move: “ It is understood that the bars and pubs of the neighbouring Vecchia Pescheria will be full of big screens for the final, making concentrated prayer difficult.”
As a result, celebrations have been moved to the city's cathedral. However, football won't be the only thing on big screens around the city. The church will put up a screen of its own for believers to follow the service outside the cathedral.
A member of the diocese told The Local that they weren't worried about a low turn out this year: “Probably the people in the bars watching the game probably wouldn't have come anyway”, he said.
Is football the new religion then?
“No – it's certainly an interest but it just depends what value you give the word.”