MANILA, July 18, 2012—Catholic bishops said that they would keep the Filipino athletes at the London Olympics in their prayers.
In a statement, Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said that like the two Filipino saints, the Filipino athletes have something good to share.
“As you participate in various games, you share your hopes and dreams for a better world through sports and activities that promote better understanding as brothers and sisters. You share your own belief that sports can make us appreciate our giftedness and our uniqueness,” Palma said.
“You share the gift of friendship as you recognize and celebrate those who prove faster, stronger, and higher. Share your own prayer for a more lasting peace and for a development with a human face,” he said.
Palma’s message was read during a send-off Mass Wednesday for the Filipino athletes held at the Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City.
“As we send you off, be rest assured of our prayers for your safe travel and a memorable and enjoyable participation. Giving your best is winning in many ways.
In both cases of our Filipino saints, San Lorenzo Ruiz, and soon San Pedro Calungsod, sharing meant shedding their blood in martyrdom,” he said. “The martyrs bring home the crown. May you bring home medals,” he added.
It was the Blessed Pedro Calungsod National Committee that arranged for the Olympians to be consecrated to the soon to be canonized saint.
The Philippine National Olympic Committee then agreed to carry Calungsod as their intercessor in the Olympic Games.
In a separate message, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle lauded the athletes “as they carry the banner of our beloved country and also of Blessed Pedro Calungsod.”
“In bringing Blessed Pedro Calungsod with them to the arena of athletic competition, they acknowledge the inspiration he gives especially to the young on how to practice and live out courage and commitment,” Tagle said.
In the face of many excruciating trials that ultimately led to his sacrificial giving of self, Blessed Pedro Calungsod did not waver but forged on armed with pure faith and love for God.
“We pray for our athletes through the intercession of Blessed Pedro Calungsod that God may give them the strength, endurance, fortitude, and patience to withstand the rigor and challenges for the Olympic challenge. We pray that they compete with fairness and lightness of heart, so that even in losing they also win,” he said.
Eleven Filipino athletes have qualified for the London Games: trackers Marestella Torres and Rene Herrera, boxer Mark Barriga, swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Lacuña, shooter Brian Rosario, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, BMX rider Daniel Caluag, judoka Tomohiko Hoshina, and archers Mark Javier and Rachel Cabral.
They also asked for constant prayers and support from their countrymen as they compete in the world’s biggest sporting event this July. [CBCPNews]