UK Bishops Invite Catholics to 'Glorify God in Their Bodies'

‘Day of Life’ Celebrates Importance of Athleticism and Healthy Lifestyle Leading up to Olympics

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LONDON, JULY 23, 2012 ( Taking occasion of the upcoming Olympic Games in London, the Bishops of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales are calling on Catholics to live a more balanced and environmentally sensitive lifestyle. Over 400,000 leaflets have been disseminated to parishes in England and Wales inviting everyone to celebrate the incredible wonder and dignity of their body and, citing St. Paul, “to use your body for the glory of God.”

This year’s Day for Life highlights the importance of good health, the care of one’s body and the importance of exercise and sporting activities. The event will be celebrated in parishes in England and Wales on July 29. The event is celebrated annually by the Catholic Church in Great Britain. Proceeds collected from that day will assist the work of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and other life-related activities supported by the Church.

Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, head of the Day for Life in England and Wales, commented on the significance of the Olympic Games and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. “In the next few weeks we are going to see Olympians and Paralympians do the most amazing things. It will be incredible to watch world records being broken; gold medals being won and after years of dedicated training, personal sacrifice and daily discipline, the body performing feats that humanly we would think impossible,” he said. “This year’s ‘Day for Life’ reminds us all of the importance of taking care of our bodies at every stage and in every condition – it’s a call ‘to use our bodies for the glory of God.'”

The message released for this year’s events focused on the importance of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that help to celebrate the human body “in all its wonder, especially when it faces the challenge of disability, physical limitation and pain.” 

“They testify that to achieve success in sport requires a harmony between the body, the spirit and the mind brought about through training and discipline,” the message read.

The initiative follows the call by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 where he encouraged Christians to take part in sporting activities as “a training ground of healthy competition and physical improvement, a school of formation in the human and spiritual values, a privileged means for personal growth and contact with society.”

Also echoing that call was Paralympic medallist and professional athlete for Great Britain, Stef Reid. “Our bodies matter and they are good. That’s why it’s so important that we don’t neglect them,” he said in video message recorded for that day.

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