SEAN Dyche’s promotion-winning side could receive a holy blessing ahead of their Premier League campaign – from the Pope.
A leading Roman Catholic cardinal from South Africa has pledged to talk to Pope Francis about Burnley’s success during a visit to the Vatican City this week.
Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, the Archbishop of Durban, started following the Clarets during a trip to Ireland in 1960.
The high-ranking 73-year-old, who says he uses his computer to keep up to speed with events at Turf Moor, was one of the cardinals who helped elect the previous Pope, Benedict XVI, in 2005.
He is travelling to Rome for ad limina, a meeting held once every five years between the Pope and top bishops to discuss their dioceses.
Heaping praise upon the club’s achievements, Cardinal Napier said: “Congratul-ations Burnley!
“Once again you’ve gained the prize by dint of hard work and dedication, not a big bank balance. God bless you all.
“En route for Rome and Ad Limina visit which will include meetings with Pope Francis.
“Will have to tell him about Burnley’s great achievement!
“With Pope Francis’s influence Burnley might surprise even the ‘big boys’!
“Can’t wait for next season!”
Despite being born in Matatiele, in the diocese of Kokstad, South Africa, Cardinal Napier’s affection for Burnley goes back more than half a century.
He said: “I’m a Burnley fan because when Burnley won the First Division in the 1959/60 season it was with a largely home-grown team.”
Yesterday, staff at Cardinal Napier’s Diocesesan Chancery in Durban added their congratulations.
His secretary said: “Cardinal Napier loves Burnley and we are delighted to hear about the soccer club’s success.”