Triple play: linking sports, spirituality and Catholic higher education

Joseph Glass (standing at center), a professor of communications and media arts, supports basketball student-athletes in his role as team chaplain at Neumann University in Aston, Pa., in January. (Hunter Martin)

In front of a capacity crowd of 48,613 at Yankee Stadium on a late September night, Derek Jeter played his last home game. He began the game in the same way he began every game in the Bronx over his remarkable 20-year career in baseball: He ran to his position at shortstop, crouched down on the edge of the outfield grass with his back to home plate, bowed his head, offered a word of thanks to God, and made the sign of the cross.

From the earliest days of competition through modern day, athletes have called upon God to assist them in their accomplishments. Sporting events, full of ritual and pageantry, were looked upon as a way to deepen the relationship with God. Today, the Catholic community continues to foster the connection, with Curia offices dedicated to church and sport within both the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for Culture.

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This story appeared in the Nov 7-20, 2014 print issue under the headline: Triple play: linking sports, spirituality and Catholic higher education .

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