Catholics and sport – enriching values and wellbeing

Published on 1st Aug, 2019

‘Sport is a very rich source of values and virtues’ – Pope Francis

Last year the Vatican issued its first document on sport, entitled ‘Giving the Best of Yourself: a Document on the Christian perspective on sport and the human person, from the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life’.

Released on June 1, 2018, it is the first Vatican document on sport, the dicastery’s prefect, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, said.

In a message to the cardinal, Pope Francis applauded the document and said, ‘Sport is a very rich source of values and virtues that help us to become better people. We need to deepen the close connection that exists between sport and life, which can enlighten one another,’ said the Pope, who often fondly recalls how he and his family cheered on his favourite soccer team when he was a boy.

The 52-page document highlighted the Church’s positive view of the important values inherent to sport and also about growing threats in the sports world, including corruption, over-commercialisation, manipulation and abuse. The document called on the Church to develop and promote an ‘apostolate for sports’ that shows the Church’s commitment to the integral wellbeing and development of the human person in sports and to directly initiate sports-related activities at the local level.

Schools and Sport

Mike Fitzgerald

During the week at Catholic schools and every weekend throughout New Zealand thousands of young and not so young kiwis play a variety of sport in schools’ sports teams or under the banner of a club affiliated with a local college.

St Pat’s Wellington vs St John’s Hastings.

Mass for MSP Rugby with Fr Barry Scannell.

These sporting codes include rugby, league, soccer, netball, cricket, rowing, golf and indoor bowls and more, and are played throughout the year.

Often this is the ‘public face’ of our religion and there is little doubt we lift above our weight when it comes to competitiveness and the winning of trophies.

Many of our rugby clubs are multi-sport; for example, Palmerston North Marist incorporates rugby – men’s and women’s, soccer and netball. Napier Marist includes the above plus cricket.

Marist St Pat’s Women’s Rugby.

Bishop Viard College has a proud history of involvement in sport.

A survey undertaken by the New Zealand Marist Rugby Federation showed there are 13 rugby clubs in the WelCom distribution area: Tukapa (New Plymouth), Wanganui Marist, Palmerston North Marist, Hutt Old Boys Marist, Marist St Pats, Masterton Marist, Hastings Rugby and Sports (formerly Hastings Celtic), Napier Old Boys Marist, Marist Wairoa, White Star Marist (Westport), Greymouth Marist, West’s (Hokitika) and Nelson Marist.

The survey demonstrated these clubs field a total of 13 Premier Teams (383 players), 21 Open Teams (618 players), 8 Age grade Teams (226 players), 4 Women’s Teams (128 players) and a staggering 165 Saturday morning Teams (2711 players). This means in the various Provincial competitions some 4066 players are the face of Catholic sport.

New Zealand Catholic Indoor Bowls.

Sacred Heart College New Plymouth Senior A Basketball Team.

These figures don’t include those players involved in college and primary-school sport where the above codes are played plus a myriad or other sports and activities.

WelCom would like to include regular coverage on where and how Catholic sporting codes are doing throughout our two dioceses. With your help and contributions, we’d like to include information on how the various codes progressed in their competitions, profiles of personalities and anything else supplied by way of news, or items of interest supplied by the clubs and schools.

Hāto Pāora College rugby team.

St Mary’s College Wellington 1st XV Rugby Team, National Champions 2018.

We invite anyone who has anything to add to a regular sports feature to drop an email to the editor at [email protected] – these can include events coming up or sports news from your area.

Any material with a sporting focus will be welcome.

Photos: Schools’ and sports clubs’ websites

Published in WelCom August 2019

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