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Athletics as Ministry

Last Revised on January 15, 2012

Great strides have been made in recent years to help coaches and Athletic Association leaders more fully understand their role as youth ministers in the parish community. One look at the Purpose and Philosophy of CYM athletics will tell you that participants and their parents can expect more from this program than those that are not grounded in a religious tradition.

In many cases, participation in CYM sports is the only contact that some young people and their parents have with a parish community – or with any church community for that matter. Every attempt should be made to recognize the presence of God in our athletes and in our athletic competitions. Positive sportsmanship is key. So is prayer.

Prayer before practices and games can go a long way in setting the scene for a positive experience. Prayer led by participants calls each to be accountable for behavior and conduct as young Christian men and women. Prayer led by adults reminds all of us of the example we must set as ministers to, with and for young people. Prayer in the presence of spectators reminds those in the stands that they share in the responsibility of creating a safe, positive, and Christian environment.

A team that takes the time to celebrate Mass together before or during the season reveals a coaching staff that understands their role as leaders in a parish faith community.

A parish that takes the time to bless their athletes calls the whole community into celebrating the gifts shared on the court, the field, the mat, or around the track. A script for the Blessing of Athletes can be found in Appendix Two of this manual.

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