Social Justice Sunday ~ 28 September 2014

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Cover of  ‘A Crown for Australia: Striving for the best in our sporting nation’

This coming Sunday (28 September) is Social Justice Sunday. Last week the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference launched the Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

The Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Bishop Saunders, says of the Statement:

‘Australians are passionate about their sport, whether as participants or as supporters … Sport brings us together, builds communities and lets us celebrate the joy of movement and skill.

‘Sport also holds a mirror up to our society. As the Statement says, we like to think that it reflects the best in us as individuals and as a community – but we also have to admit that it can reflect the worst in us. Sport can show us a side to our society that is not only ugly but often unjust as well.’

The goal of sport is the good of humans everywhere. How, then, can we help build the Kingdom of God through our sporting experience – whether playing or cheering from the sidelines?

In addition to the Statement are a number of resources, including prayers and liturgy notes for Mass. They can be downloaded from this page.

There is also a leaflet setting out ten steps that anyone can take towards making sport a grace-filled and productive part of their lives.

The resources also include this prayer:

God of all sports (and none):
From our small minds,
how amused you must be
when our prayers about sport
are about our own success or our team’s.
Whose side are you on?
How do you choose
When supporters from both sides
implore your divine intervention?

Remind us that in prayer
our hearts are opened to you
and our minds lifted beyond ourselves.
Just as prayer changes us,
not you, O God,
so sport too, can lift us beyond ourselves.
So, we pray:

We give thanks for the gift of our bodies,
For the ability to run, walk, jump,
swim, catch and throw.

We pray for patience and discipline,
that we may learn the joy of mastering new skills:
achieving success, and cheerfully bearing failure
in the company of others.

We pray that our relationships be enriched
through the friendships we form.
May we learn to include others across borders
of language, colour, gender and religion.
We pray that we care for others.

May we especially look out for those
who are differently abled,
and those often left on the boundaries.
Through our vigilance
may we always play fair,
and ensure that no one is abused or exploited.
We ask this through Jesus your son. Amen.

 

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