Saint Paul Seminary rector: Sports can play a prominent role in priestly formation


Rector, The Saint Paul Seminary

Dear Friends,

The Church recognizes the value sports can play for each of us, with Pope Francis stating that “the Ecclesial Community sees in sports a powerful instrument for the integral growth of the human person.” In a similar vein, St. John Paul II recognizes that we must “promote sports which can create the condition of a life rich in hope.” Even centuries ago, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that there is a “virtue in games” and that a virtuous person should not be working all the time, but also must make time for play and recreation.

So, while not a formal dimension of our seminarians’ formation, sports can play a prominent role in the development of our men into the priests they will become. Whether it serves to connect men in fraternity, as teammates or fans, or if it offers a chance for them to hear and discern God’s call, these activities provide an opportunity for our seminarians and priests to embody these values.

And, just as athletes face challenges and trials, so too do our seminarians in their journey toward priesthood. The physical and mental demands, the need for discipline and self-control, and the benefits of solidarity and collaboration are all aspects that resonate both in the sporting arena and on the path to priesthood.

Perhaps that is why our patron St. Paul makes the connection between athletics and our faith journey. My prayer is that each of us, whether on the field or off, can come to the end and say, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr Taphorn signature


Reverend Joseph C. Taphorn, JCL
Rector and Vice President, The Saint Paul Seminary

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