Soccer star Ronaldo took a significant step in his spiritual journey last week in Brazil. The athlete, who has been a key figure in two World Cup victories, was baptized, confirmed and received First Holy Communion at a Catholic church in São Paulo.
Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, commonly known as Ronaldo, announced his baptism in a post on social media, calling it a “very special day.”
“The Christian faith has always been a fundamental part of my life, since childhood, even though I had not yet been baptized,” he wrote in Portuguese on Instagram, along with several photos of the ceremony.
“With the sacrament, I feel truly regenerated as a child of God — in a new, more conscious, deeper way. I renew my commitment to follow the path of good, of my own free will, believing in the love of Jesus, in supportive love.”
The soccer legend was baptized days before his 47th birthday at the Church of Sao Jose in the Jardim Europa neighborhood on São Paulo’s west side. He also received the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion on the same day, The Catholic News Agency reported.
The ceremony was conducted by Padre Fábio de Melo, a priest and author with over 26 million followers on Instagram.
Ronaldo, a striker who once played for Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan, is a prominent figure in soccer history. He secured the Golden Boot during Brazil’s 2002 FIFA World Cup win and earned FIFA’s Player of the Year title three times. He stepped away from professional soccer in 2011 when he was 34.
In his Instagram post, Ronaldo also thanked father Dom Oswaldo, and his godparents, Amilcar and Malu.
Ronaldo’s spiritual journey has been evolving.
In June 2022, he fulfilled a promise to make the 280-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in the northwest of Spain on a bicycle.
Around half of Brazilians identify as Catholic, and Brazil is the world’s largest Catholic-majority country. There has been a growing Evangelical movement within Brazil in recent years. And now, about a third of the Brazilian population identifies as Evangelical.
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