Tag Archives: sport

Sports at the Service of Humanity

We Catholics hold in healthy tension the goods of the act of faith and sport. We know that Pope John Paul II loved the outdoors and sporting activity; we see now that Pope Francis appreciates and advocates healthy competition among people on the field. Yet, few know that for several years the Holy See has had an office dedicated to nature of sport viz. the faith.

The Pontiff said, “Sports in the community can be a great missionary tool, where the Church is close to every person to help them become better and to meet Jesus Christ. Put yourselves in the game, in the search for good, in the Church and in society, without fear, with courage, and enthusiasm. Don’t content yourselves with a mediocre ‘tie.’ Give the best of yourselves, spending your lives for that which is truly valuable and that which lasts forever.”

A recent colloquium worked on the theme of Sports at the Service of Humanity. How does sport facilitate dialogue and encounter and with Christ?

Vatican Radio interviewed Linda Del Rio, who is associated with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) Varsity Catholic Mission in the United States. The link to the interview is here.

Too many NFL players are not good role models

Since the Super Bowl on February 3, 27 NFL players have been arrested on various charges: soliciting a prostitute, DUI, drugs, murder, assault, and assorted unacceptable activities. Today’s arrest of CT native Aaron Hernandez is a temporary capstone of events.

Business Insider gives the list here. This is list really heartbreaking and they deserve our prayer. My hope is that they keep up their act and become real men.
To say these men aren’t good role models is an understatement. More than ever, we need good, moral sportsmanship. We need a society that calls the professional players of sport to live and work appropriately for their own good, but for those whom they influence.

Kellen Clemens is ‘Catholic by Blood’

Until I read this story in the National Catholic
Register (NCR) I didn’t know who Kellen Clemens was. Those who know me know
that I am not a follower of football, let alone any other sport for that
matter. I am not anti-sport, I am just not a sports-type-of-person. But, I fact
I fully advocate an integration of faith and morals in the world of sports;
something that many other sports-people could benefit from. What caught my eye
in the NCR were the words “Catholic” and “St Louis Rams.” Interest piqued. I am
glad it did. Until now one would think that Tim Teabow was the only man in
American football that had a faith life. As it turns out, Kellen Clemans also
believes in God, is a Catholic and a family man. Let’s pray that these virtues
remain solid for a very long time. The NCR story is not only a good human
interest piece but it emboldens the rest of us (I hope).

Read Trent Beattie’s
article “St. Louis Rams’ Quarterback Is ‘Catholic by Blood‘.” But one section
is worth quoting here (emphasis mine).

Did you grow up in a devout family?

Kellen Clemens.jpeg

I’m a cradle
Catholic, with four sisters, and the faith was always an integral part of our
lives. I went to confession, received holy Communion and was confirmed. We were
taught the difference between right and wrong and enjoyed the stability that
brings. We also benefited from being so close to nature on our family’s cattle
ranch. That encourages you to be humble and also to respect and work with God’s

Read more ...

Vatican works more closely with Sport

JPII Foundation for Sport.jpegThe Church is getting more deeply into sport laity with the John Paul II Foundation for Sport, and the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Laity. It is believed that sport as a privileged place for dialogue among church, culture and youth. Sport is healthy recreation and appropriate challenge. Sport is a point of reference of bettering oneself and the development of virtue.

This is a new approach to following Christ.

(Sadly, the John Paul II Foundation for Sport is only a London based organization; let’s hope something in the USA and Canada gets working.)

From Vatican Radio:

Representatives from the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for the Laity held a press conference at the Vatican on Thursday, during which they presented the new lines of cultural approach to sport. The new approach is aimed at coming to an understanding of sport as a privileged place for dialogue among Church, culture and youth. The conference also provided an opportunity to present the Pontifical Council for Culture’s new Department dedicated to Culture and Sport, which will work closely with the Church and Sport Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and the John Paul II Foundation for Sport. One of those who participated in the press briefing was Fr. Kevin Lixey, who is Responsible for the Church and Sport Section at the Council for the Laity. He told Vatican Radio recent, highly publicized scandals in major league sports – including betting scandals in Italy – make the announcement extremely timely. “On the one hand,” said Lixey, “we wanted to announce something we’ve been doing for the past year and a half,” adding, “it’s a moment for the Church to show that it is concerned.” Fr. Lixey went on to say, “[The Church] is actively working and interested in trying to stimulate a little bit more the pastoral work with sport,” on all levels, from youth leagues to international and professional compretition. “There is,” said Fr. Lixey, “still a lot of good in sport.” 

Listen to Chris Altieri’s extended interview with Fr. Kevin Lixey of the Pontifical Council for the LaityRealAudioMP3 

Collar & cleats: seminarians compete for the Clericus Cup title

clericus cup Italy 2010jpg.jpgThe other day the NY Times had a positive story about happenings in the Catholic Church. Yes, it’s possible that a good human interest story dealing with Catholic seminarians!

The annual soccer tournament known as the Clericus Cup is an association of seminaries and houses of formation in Rome who have a friendly competition. This is only the 4th year of competition.
The Church is a longtime fan of sport, especially a fan of soccer because it’s not only fun but sport promotes good social interrelations, brotherhood among the international students, skill, healthy mind, body & soul and good sportsmanship. So, it is true that seminarians are more than just students….
The author brings out that a number of popes have had an appreciation for soccer
Read Gaia Pianigiani’s story “Shedding the Collar to the Lace Up Cleats.”
The Pontifical North American College seminarians pulled together a handy website for the Clericus Cup.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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