May 25, 2019

Catholic Athletes for Christ

Every so often you run across a group that one can really appreciate and admire. Catholic Athletes for Christ is one such group.

CAC’s mission statement is a simple one – to serve Catholic athletes and share the Gospel of Christ in and through athletics. Their goal is “to provide an integrated network of sports-orientated clergy and lay people to serve Catholic athletes, coaches, and staff in the practice of their faith, and to utilize the unique platform given to them to reach the world for Jesus Christ and His Church.”

This sounds like an outstanding way to serve the giant sports community and possibly evangelize those in sports who may not know what the Catholic faith has to offer.

CAC’s vision is embodied in six important points.

  • To develop and promote solid Catholic role models
  • To work with Church leadership and Catholic organizations
  • To minister to Catholic athletes, coaches, and staff
  • To reverse the moral crisis in sports today
  • To create a network of Catholic athletes, coaches, and staff
  • To organize sports conferences, pilgrimages, retreats, and days of reflection

Direction comes in the way of the CAC’s goals.

“Charity is the virtue of putting others before ourselves,” reads the organization’s by-laws. “(Our) goal: We should all seek to love one another as Jesus has loved us, placing other’s needs before our very own. In sports this means learning to care about those around us, even our competitors. Treat each person we meet not only how we would want to be treated ourselves, but moreover how Jesus Christ would treat them if He were present.”

“Honesty is the virtue of being conformed and dedicated to the Truth. (Our) goal: We should all seek to be men and women dedicated to the Truth, the truth of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. This is a truth that exists outside of our own human mind, a truth that we get the grace of participating in every time we read sacred scripture or participate in the sacred mysteries.”

“Humility is the virtue of being aware that God is the author of all good, and the realization that we are not God. (Our) goal: We should seek to give credit to God who is the source of all that is good and seek to do all things for the greater glory of God, rather than taking credit for His handiwork.”

“Meekness is the virtue of submitting to the will of others out of respect and deference for their dignity as a person. (Our) goal: We should all seek the good in those around us, looking to affirm and honor them for the good of who they are, submitting ourselves to their will, rather than living for the estimation of our brothers and sisters.”

“Moderation, also known as temperance, is the virtue of being in control of our passions and having self-mastery. (Our) goal: We should all seek to be in control of our whole lives at all times. Our passions do not have power over us; we instead have power over them. We should have the ability to tell ourselves ‘No’ and be in control of our appetites for the things of this world and the simple pleasures of life.”

“Purity, also known as chastity, is the virtue of being clean in mind and body, as well as modest in our dress and speech. (Our) goal: We should all seek to be in control of our sexuality. We are not to deny our human sexuality, but rather embrace it, accept it, and integrate it into our very person through the use of temperance. True chastity requires diligence and discipline, always being on guard against temptations of the flesh, so that we may truly love, cherish, treasure, and honor others as we should.”

“Good Sportsmanship is the virtue of treating others with dignity and respect in sporting events; winning with graciousness and losing with dignity and honor.” “(Our) goal: We should all seek to compete to the best of our ability, treating ourselves, our fellow teammates, and our competitors with dignity and honor. Our behavior should reflect at all times that of Christ and our demeanor speak to the value of healthy competition. Instead of looking for the easy way to win or resort to cheating, being a good sport means that there are no short cuts to victory. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” — 2 Tim 4:7

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Catholic Athletes for Christ include Mike Sweeney (Kansas City Royals), Jeff Suppan (St. Louis Cardinals), Sal Bando (Oakland Athletics), Lauren Bauer (Univeristy of Arizona), Lou Carnesecca (St. John’s University), Jack Del Rio (Denver Broncos), Rebecca Dussault (U.S. cross-country Olympian), David Eckstein (St. Louis Cardinals), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Mike Piazza (Los Angeles Dodgers), and many more.

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Written by
George Eichorn

GEORGE EICHORN is the long-time executive director of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association and sports editor and columnist for a Detroit weekly newspaper. For more than three decades, he has covered the Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Championships, and Stanley Cup finals. His articles have been published in the Detroit News, Basketball Times, Basketball Digest, Red Wings Magazine, Baseball Bulletin, Sports Fans Journal, Soccer World, and Bowler’s Digest. During the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York, he proudly covered the historic “Miracle on Ice” hockey game when the United States shocked the Soviet Union. Through the years, he has won numerous broadcasting and writing awards, and most recently received the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame’s Special Recognition Award. In 2003, he authored a book about the rich history of Michigan sports broadcasting, Detroit Sports Broadcasters: On the Air, for which the late Detroit Tigers broadcast legend, Ernie Harwell, wrote the forward. He is the married father of two daughters and a graduate of Wayne State University.

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Written by George Eichorn