Sunderland at Wembley: City priest writes ‘Promotion Prayer’ ahead of play-off final
Deliver us from League One...
That’s the call of a promotion prayer as Sunderland AFC head to Wembley for the play-offs.
Father Marc Lyden-Smith, who leads St Mary’s RC Church in Bridge Street and St Cecilia’s RC Church in Ryhope Road, has penned a new invocation ahead of the team’s second trip to the stadium this season.
The Black Cats will take on Charlton Athletic on Sunday as they battle it for a place in next season’s Championship, with kick off at 3pm.
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Related: Sunderland at Wembley: Watch the motivational good luck messages to the Black Cats from Sunderland schoolkidsFr Marc, who will be among more than 30,000 fans travelling down to watch the match, has predicted Sunderland will claim victory with a 2-1 win.
He said: “There is a real buzz around the city at the minute in anticipation for this extremely important football match.
“It never ceases to amaze me to see the faith of Sunderland people, many of whom may not even come to church, but pop into St Mary’s in the city centre, and say a little prayer for the team.
“It’s incredible how the power of football can unite a city of so many different backgrounds and cultures, beliefs and values.
“That’s exactly what Sunderland football club does, it unites us as a proud and hardworking city.
“Let’s take that unity and self belief to Wembley and finish the job with promotion.
“Together, let’s get this football club back where we belong, to top flight of English football.
“So let’s pray for the team.
“To all families and groups of friends travelling down to Wembley I say; Pray often, pray together and pray with confidence.”
He counts a number of Sunderland players among his congregation.
He also created a prayer for when the team played Portsmouth at Wembley in March in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Strong and faithful God,
As we come together as a city for this important match, we ask you to bless our team.
Keep them safe from injury and harm, and keep in them in them respect for each other, and reward them for their perseverance.
Thank you for the passion and loyalty of Sunderland fans, grant them peace and joy this Sunday.
Lead us all to the rewards of your kingdom where you live and reign for ever and ever.