The Archdiocese of Montreal’s youth ministry hosted a ball hockey tournament on May 23 to foster connections among youth groups across the diocese. Photo by Kathleen Kennedy

For the love of God and the game

By  Kathleen Kennedy, Youth Speak News
  • May 29, 2015

PHOTO GALLERY: YSN correspondent Kathleen Kennedy captured a ball hockey tournament hosted by the Montreal archdiocese in five frames.

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MONTREAL - The St. Thomas à Becket parish parking lot was completely full on May 23, with more than 300 excited ball hockey players, coaches, fans and volunteers. Some teams had matching jerseys, while others had roaring cheers — but the one thing all teams had in common was their exuberant spirit and excitement for their upcoming games.

“The enthusiastic participation and creative energy of each team and community that comes to participate in the tournament is truly special, whether teams are coming for the first time or whether they’ve been present from the tournament’s inception,” said Adriano D’Angelo,  one of the organizing members from Mission Jeunesse.

On May 23, Mission Jeunesse, in collaboration with St. Thomas à Becket parish, organized the Apostles’ Cup ball hockey tournament. The tournament has been running for seven years, and it has been growing every year.

“This year has been our largest tournament yet with 22 teams across three age categories ranging from 12 to 21 years old,” said D’Angelo.

The event was first created to unite young people in the diocese not only on the basis of their love of the sport, but also to invite the young adult players to become a member of the universal Church.

Sean Grogan, one of the referees, viewed this occasion as an opportunity for young adults to be a part of the Church.

“The door is now open, we just need to get them through the door,” said Grogan. “I think by having priests (from the teams’ parishes) present and participating in the tournament can have a huge impact on the promotion of faith.”

The event ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Before each game, the referees read out a prayer, in both English and French, thanking the Lord for the occasion to come together and play the sport, while extending their endeavours and prayers to all Christians being persecuted in many countries around the world.

“This event is proof that more and more men are getting involved in Catholic youth ministry and it combines the joining of faith and sports,” said Matthew Kennedy, another referee at the tournament. He believes these tournaments are a great way to get young men engaged in Christian fellowship in a fun and engaging manner.

Once the tournament was finished, there was an awards ceremony to highlight the teams with the most creative name, banner, cheer, the best fans, best coach and best sportsmanship. Each winning team received Reebok CCM equipment.

In both the 12 to 14 division and 15 to 17 division, the Don Bosco Youth Leadership Centre won the cup, while Loyola High School won in the 18 to 21 division.

(Kennedy, 20, is a second-year political science student at McGill University in Montreal, Que.)

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