Priests strap on ski boots for friendly competition in Poland

Credit: alefbet/Shutterstock.
Credit: alefbet/Shutterstock.

.- Over the weekend at the Polish ski resort of Wisla, cassocks could be spotted flying down the hills for the 21st annual Pope John Paul II Skiing Cup.

The competition, which awards the John Paul II trophy to the best competitors, has an unusual set of participants: priests and seminarians.

According to Fr. Gregory Szwarc, one of the event’s organizers, the race was named after the late Pope John Paul II because of the good example he set.

“Our Pope John Paul II went skiing so that is why we gave the competition his name,” Fr. Szwarc told CNA in a previous interview.

Participants race in honor of  St. John Paul II, who was a lifelong skier and lover of the outdoors. The goal behind the cup is to give clergy the opportunity to set an example of healthy competition and prayer, while also giving them the chance to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Dozens participated at the 21st annual event held Jan. 20 in Wisla, fewer than 30 miles southwest of Bielsko-Biala.

The oldest among the racers was Fr. Wladyslaw Nowobilski, who is 76 years old.  “I am persistent,” Fr. Nowobilski said in a video, according to the BBC.

While the competition was previously reserved for priests, it was recently opened up to other religious leaders and the laity of the priests’ parishes.

Each participant also received a commemorative mug with an image of St. John Paul II.

Tags: St John Paul II, Skiing