Vatican hosts seminar on sport

Olympic rowing champion Susan Saint Sing

Olympic rowing champion Susan Saint Sing

A seminar on 'sport, education and faith is currently place in Rome. The event is the third study seminar organised by The 'Church and Sport' section, founded by Pope John Paul II in 2004 as part of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The aim is to explore the relationship between sporting activity, the formation of the human person, and faith, within the field of Catholic sport associations.

The two day seminar takes place on 6 and 7 November in the Villa Aurelia Conference Centre in Rome. It is being attended by 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.

Friday morning was dedicated to 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 was turned to the role of sport associations in the Catholic world, in the light of Church teaching.

Afterwards Mike McNamee, professor at Swansea University in Wales, delivered a lecture on a possible correlation between sports and human virtue.

In the afternoon there was  a panel discussion in which professional sportspeople considered  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 behaviour that is lived both on and off the field", a spokesman said. The day  concluded with an analysis of the relationship between sport and spiritual life, offered by Susan Saint Sing, former US Olympic rower.

The second day of the conference will begin with a contribution on new approaches and educational strategies in sports environments, delivered by Edio Costantini, president of the John Paul II Sports Foundation. Afterwards a panel discussion will explore the opportunities offered by Catholic sport associations for bearing witness to Christ "through the work of evangelisation, the exercise of Christian charity, or in ecumenical and inter-cultural dialogue". The conference will conclude with an address by Bishop Josef Clemens, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

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