Latin American Church leaders apologized for historical complicity with colonial atrocities in the Amazon and called for a Church with an "Amazonian face" in a pastoral letter issued as negotiators from around the world met for a climate summit here.

Published in International

The other day, I fell off a ladder. More precisely, a ladder I propped up on a snow-slicked deck so I could clean out eavestroughs, slipped out from under me, dropping me seven or eight feet.

Published in Robert Brehl

While watching a sappy reality dating show a few years ago, the TV host made a statement that stuck with me: “Are you always the bridesmaid and never the bride?”

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

Jesse is in a tough spot. Having lost his business after personal troubles, he lives on a small pension. His grown-up children visit once in a while, bringing the grandkids, but he has few social contacts and seems unneeded in the world. How has he coped? “Faith in God” is his ready response to this question. Yet he’s angry with God, too, with himself, and with the systems that didn’t rescue him. 

Published in Mary Marrocco

A concert I attended last month included George Gershwin’s “Summertime.” Not a favourite of mine, but that evening I felt the song’s appeal. In music and words, it carries a sense of relaxed fullness, an invitation into a lush, protected place where the “livin’ is easy,” the harshness of the world far-off at the edges: “fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high... there ain’t nothin’ can harm you, with mama and daddy standin’ by.” 

Published in Mary Marrocco

I’ve always been one for planning my life ahead of schedule, even years in advance. I tend to go overboard often. The evidence is all over the day planner I use at school: a scribble in the margins here, a small number there, all marking just how long I have until the important dates coming up on my life, like graduation or signing up for classes for my first semester of university.

Published in YSN: Speaking Out

Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A) May 18 (Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 33; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12)

Tension between various groups has been a fact of life in the Christian Church right from the beginning. Human nature is fairly constant.

Published in Fr. Scott Lewis

VATICAN CITY - St. John Paul II would not want Catholics' applause, but he would want to inspire the way they live, especially in defending the family and the sacredness of human life, said Cardinal Angelo Comastri.

Published in Papal Canonizations

Second Sunday of Advent (Year C) Dec. 9 (Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 126; Philippians 1:3-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6)

Published in Fr. Scott Lewis

It’s a never-ending cycle of games

This is not a rant against organized sports. My kids have been involved in sports for many years, mostly because of my husband. Basketball, ringette, hockey, baseball, volleyball — you name it, they’ve played it. 

We’ve travelled far and often to take our kids to games and tournaments. We’ve met hundreds of players, parents and coaches and shared with them the satisfaction of playing hard and the thrill of victory. There have been many good times.

But it’s often been a struggle to balance sports and family life. We’ve just barely finished baseball season and now hockey is upon us. Thank goodness my husband and I agree that, as a family, we should never miss our holy obligation of Sunday Mass in the name of a game. Even on tournament weekends, we always find a church and never miss Sunday Mass.

Still, as someone who didn’t grow up with sports, I have been known to lose my cool when sports trumps family life. I even spoke to a priest about it, not that I got much sympathy. He warned me to be careful about succumbing to the spirit of division and suggested I embrace sports as a family event instead of bickering over it.  He must have grown up with organized sports!

So over the years I have heeded that advice and supported my family’s obsession with sports. I’ll never be an expert but I like to think I’m a keen observer. I know that most athletes and coaches are uninterested in the observations of a Catholic woman whose formative years revolved around the church and not an arena or baseball diamond. But I’m going to share some observations anyway.

It seems to me that many Catholic parents don’t make sure their children attend Mass as religiously as they get their children to games. And why do some boys wear their Sunday best to an arena and not to church? I can’t believe the number of times I’ve seen boys wearing white shirts and ties to minor hockey games, but not to church on Easter or Christmas. It makes no sense to me.

I also wonder why Catholic athletes and coaches obey the rules and regulations governing sports but balk at the rules and regulations of the Catholic Church. Also, I’m appalled by the spending on superfluous extras by many sports teams. Do kids really need two jerseys, track suits, customized hockey bags, leather winter jackets, spring jackets, pants, hats, hoodies, drinking canisters and various other team paraphernalia that display the team logo? I wish team organizers would consider how many more kids could benefit from team sports if fees were reduced by eliminating these extras.

Then there’s the schedules. There were years when one of our kids had a game on Thanksgiving, Ash Wednesday, Easter Sunday, a family birthday and during the Christmas week. Of course, Sunday is always fair game for the schedule makers. These games often interfered with our holy obligations and relations with our extended family. On the secular celebration of Halloween, however, one league cancelled all the games so the kids could go trick or treating.

Another concern is that a generation of kids has grown up winning participation trophies. What does that teach them? Shouldn’t a trophy be something you earn? If we’re going to spend so much time at sports, we should be teaching kids that, in addition to fair play, they need to learn about winning and losing because life is like that.

If I had my way, there’d also be classroom sessions for Catholic parents and players to learn how sports can enrich family life and be used to grow in virtue. Yes, it would be a tough sell, but I’d love to see sessions on what various popes and Catholic thinkers have said about the value of sports and about its place in culture.

I’d open with what St. Ignatius of Antioch said in the first century: “Exercise self discipline, for you are God’s athlete; the prize is immortality and eternal life.” Much better for young athletes to be pondering that than to be discussing Don Cherry’s latest rant from Coach’s Corner.

Finally, as another hockey season begins, I’ve heard the lament of many wives about being neglected after the first puck is dropped. So say a prayer for us and, dads, it doesn’t hurt now and again to surprise us with a dozen roses or take us dancing or out to the theatre.

Published in Guest Columns
Page 4 of 4