On the cusp of the start of the winter sports season, student-athletes at Trinity High School in Camp Hill gathered for an evening prayer service on November 22 where they were commissioned to follow their school motto in striving for the highest good, “Ad summum bonum.”
Members of the basketball, wrestling, swimming and cheerleading teams, and the indoor percussion band came together for the prayer service to pray for healthy, safe and competitive seasons in the spirit of Christian charity.
Following Scripture readings and intercessions, Father Kenneth Roth, school chaplain, blessed the students, sprinkling them with holy water.
In a spiritual reflection, Father Roth told the student-athletes that sports and competition provide lessons in perseverance, especially for times of struggle in life.
“They give us the inner strength and knowledge that when we feel like we’re done, we can keep going,” he said.
“Often in life, we fight and fight, but as soon as we start slipping, we let ourselves fall. As Catholics, as Christians, we can’t do that,” he said. “The world wants to see us defeated. The world wants to see us fall and fail. We have to be willing to keep getting back up, to keep fighting for our faith, even when the game runs long and we’re tired. We have to run always as to win, because we are fighting for something greater than just a trophy. We are fighting for Our Lord, for ourselves, for our salvation and for our brothers and sisters in the world that we care for with our donations, our charity, our time, our prayers. There’s nothing more important than that.”
Kari Powell, a member of the soccer and swimming teams, offered a reflection on the lessons she has learned as a student-athlete, encouraging her peers to persevere even when things are tiring.
“We have the decision to show up or not show up; to focus or not focus. There are so many excuses to pull from, and all of us can justify not doing certain things, but that is the easy way out and there is no growth there,” she said. “There is no happiness at the end of the day because we have not tested and tried to use our God-given abilities to the fullest. In the end, it is a mediocre approach to life, and there is no way that God’s plan for you is to be mediocre. You are meant to be extraordinary, and that means pushing forward at times when things don’t feel good.”
“You not only have to want this for yourselves, you have to want this for your teammates and your friends, too,” Powell told her fellow students. “We’re not doing life alone, and we’re not doing our sport alone. You have the ability to lead your teammates in the right direction. Demonstrate your character that directs others around you to seek the highest good.”
Eric Kindler, Athletic Director, told The Catholic Witness that Trinity began the prayer services for student-athletes this year “as a part of various initiatives and efforts to integrate and express Catholic identity more fully among our sports teams.” A prayer service was offered earlier this year for the fall sports programs, and a similar one is planned for the spring.
(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness