Catholic sports group immerses athletes in richness of faith
By Elise Harris
Children run during a Vatican sports event on Oct. 20, 2013. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.
Children run during a Vatican sports event on Oct. 20, 2013. Credit: Lauren Cater/CNA.

.- In light of recent events at the Vatican honoring the bond of sports and faith, one catholic organization revealed their goal to both evangelize through sports, as well as form athletes on an integral level.

“We work to support athletes by providing them the Sacraments and once they are properly catechized and formed we encourage them and try to promote them to go out and try to share the Good News, to share their faith as applied in their sport and that's our evangelization component,” Ray McKenna told CNA in an Oct. 20 interview.

McKenna is the founder and president of Catholic Athletes for Christ, which was formed as a response to Bl. John Paul II's call to evangelize the world of sports.

Speaking if the organization's close collaboration with the Vatican's Office for Sports, McKenna stressed that “some of the fruits are there's interest in sports and the Church's perspective on sports.”

“One of the things we wish to share is the rich teaching history of the Church and many people are unaware of that,” he noted, recalling how St. Paul, who whom they refer to as “the first sports writer,” spoke used the analogies of a “prize fight, a race,” and “running for an eternal crown.”

The organization's president also reflected on the “brilliant, excellent, explication” from many different Pope's on the subject of the theology of sports, beginning with an encyclical of Pius XII in which he spoke “beautifully” about “the proper interaction between the body, mind and the soul.”

“Sadly,” he noted, “a lot of people just look at it as a pursuit of the body.”

McKenna also spoke of retired pontiff Benedict XVI, stressing that he “has given one of the most beautiful, I think, discussions of why sports is important,” which is interesting because the former Pope “is not an athlete per se.”

Recalling how during his papacy Benedict was asked in an audience why sports are important to God, Mckenna noted that the pontiff's response was that “Yes God cares about sports because God cares about man and man cares about sports. So anything that is important to man is important to God.”

“Man is created by God the Father, created in the image of God, recreated by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and daily renewed by the Holy Spirit,” McKenna stated, paraphrasing the words of the former Pope.

“So the Trinitarian approach of the Church to sports, and then obviously the next logical step is that sports should reflect also...man properly understood and therefore God.”

As for Pope Francis' take on the matter, the organization's president drew attention to the fact that he constantly emphasizes the need for the Church to “go into the culture and engage the culture,” stressing that this is part of the mission of Catholic Athletes for Christ.

“What we do is to go share the Good News in a pro-active way.”

Often in the secular world, especially within sports, McKenna noted that the Church's teachings are viewed as “black and white and condemning.”

He urged that a big part of the mission of his organization is to show that “the Church's teachings are much more beautiful and richer than that,” stressing that “they give you is a new perspective on life, a new way of life,” which “can get lost if it's a simplistic understanding of rights and wrongs as opposed to a holistic understanding of the human person as engaged in sports.”

As a means of attaining this holistic care, Catholic Athletes for Christ provides to opportunity for their players to receive the Sacraments, primarily Mass and confessions, at their sporting venues.

Proudly announcing new initiatives within the organization, McKenna highlighted a new diocesan-wide high school program which will be launching in the diocese of Trenton, N.J. under Bishop David O'Connell.

“We're really excited,” he said, “our first focus was on the professional athlete, then the Olympic athlete, the collegiate athlete, and now we have something to offer” for younger athletes.

Tags: Vatican, Sports

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »


Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: