Vatican hosting seminar on sports and spiritual life


The Vatican is set to host a unique seminar on how sports are related to building virtue and the spiritual life. Participants will hear from the former U.S. Olympic rower Susan Saint Sing and Edio Constantini, the president of the John Paul II Sports Foundation, among other speakers.

The gathering is being organized by the “Church and Sport” section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and will take place November 6-7 at the Villa Aurelia Conference Center in Rome.

The theme for the two-day seminar is: "Sport, education and faith: a new season for Catholic sport associations." The aim of the event is to explore the relationship between sporting activity, the formation of the human person, and faith, within the field of Catholic sport associations.

Those in attendance will include representatives of sport and youth ministry from episcopal conferences, presidents of Catholic associations at the national and international level, and personalities from the worlds of professional and amateur sport.

Kicking off the first day of events will be a Friday morning session on the Church's mission within the world of youth sports. After the reading of a Message from Benedict XVI and some opening remarks from Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, attention will turn to the role of sport associations in the Catholic world, in the light of Church teaching. The morning set of talks will be drawn to a close with an address by Mike McNamee, professor at Swansea University in Wales, who will  consider if there is a correlation between sports and human virtue.

Friday afternoon will feature a panel discussion in which professional athletes will discus what it means to be a champion, "that is to say, to offer an idea of success that is not limited to mere fame or victory but is rather defined by virtuous behavior that is lived both on and off the field," a press release on the event says.

Susan Saint Sing, former U.S. Olympic rower, will close out the day with an analysis of the relationship between sport and spiritual life.

On Saturday, Edio Constantini, president of the year-old John Paul II Sports Foundation, will deliver a talk on new approaches and educational strategies in sports environments, which will be followed by a   panel discussion on the opportunities offered by Catholic sport associations for bearing witness to Christ.

The conference will conclude with an address by Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

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