Pope Francis meets the Harlem Globetrotters at the end of the General audience of Wednesday

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Pope Tells Coaches What They Say Must Be Supported By Actions, Faith

Reminds Them How Christian Holiness Can Be Promoted in Sports’ Context

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Pope Francis has reminded coaches of the immense impact they have on young people and how, given this, it is even more necessary that faith is at the center of what they do.

Pope Francis said this in a letter he sent to the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, on the occasion of the International Study Seminar on the topic: “Coaches: Educators of Persons,” organized by the “Church and Sport” section of his dicastery.

The seminar is taking place in Rome at the Auditorium of Villa Aurelia , May 14-15.

The Holy Father continued them to continue their path of reflection and promotion of human and Christian values in sports activity.

He lauded their having opportunely taken into consideration the figure of the coach, putting emphasis on his role as educator.

“All of us, in life, are in need of educators, mature, wise and balanced persons that help us grow in the family, in study, in work, in the faith,” he said.

The educators needed, he highlighted are those, “that encourage us to take the first steps in a new activity without having fear of the obstacles and the challenges to be faced; that spur us to surmount difficult moments; that exhort us to have confidence in ourselves and in our companions; that are at our side be it in moments of disappointment and loss be it in those of joy and success.»

The sports coach, especially in Catholic environments, the Pontiff noted, can become for many young people one of these good educators, and are very important for them developing into mature individuals with good character.

The responsibility of a coach is great, the Pope said, stressing how they have the privilege of spending many hours a week with young people and of having great influence on them by his conduct and personality.

“The influence of an educator, especially for young people, depends more on what he is as a person and the way he lives than what he says,” he noted.

Therefore, he continued, saying “how important it is that a coach be an example of integrity, of coherence, of good judgment, of impartiality, but also of joy of living, of patience, of capacity to esteem and of benevolence to all, especially the most disadvantaged! And how important it is that he be an example of faith!”

The Pope went on to stress how faith helps us raise our gaze to God and keep things in perspective.

Pope Francis concluded, praying that the Lord that their «work of these days may be rich in fruits for the pastoral of sport,» and “that Christian holiness will continue to be promoted also in this environment, in which so many young lives can be reached and transformed by joyful witnesses of the Gospel.”

 

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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