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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Thursday, September 06, 2012
Seventeenth Sunday 29th July 2012
Fit for Purpose?

As I write this, the anticipation around the Opening Ceremony of this year’s Olympic Games is almost palpable. I heard on the radio this morning that those who attended the rehearsals were given a little pep talk by Danny Boyle, the maestro behind what is known as Isles of Wonder. Apparently he told them that they could take all the pictures and footage that they wanted and then asked them simply not to post any of it anywhere. And no-one has. They all seem to have a rather good grasp of the concept of the seal of the confessional.
On the subject of the games, religions are onboard. This morning’s Thought for the Day on the Today programme was given by the coordinator of the Olympic Interfaith Chaplaincy who claimed to “be there for people of all faiths and none.” Why anyone with no faith would need a chaplain seems a bit like an anarchist forming a political party. But I digress.
In our own case, the bishops of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales are calling on Catholics to live a more balanced and environmentally sensitive lifestyle. Over the past few weeks we have made leaflets available which invite everyone to celebrate the incredible wonder and dignity of their body and, citing St. Paul, "to use your body for the glory of God."
This year's Day for Life highlights the importance of good health, the care of one’s body and the importance of exercise and sporting activities. The event is celebrated annually by the Catholic Church in Great Britain and also serves to highlight the work of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre and other life-related activities protecting life from conception until death supported by the Church.
Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark commented on the significance of the Games and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. "In the next few weeks we are going to see Olympians and Paralympians do the most amazing things. It will be incredible to watch world records being broken; gold medals being won and after years of dedicated training, personal sacrifice and daily discipline, the body performing feats that humanly we would think impossible," he said. "This year’s Day for Life reminds us all of the importance of taking care of our bodies at every stage and in every condition – it’s a call 'to use our bodies for the glory of God.'"
The message released for this year’s events focuses on the importance of the Games that help to celebrate the human body, "in all its wonder, especially when it faces the challenge of disability, physical limitation and pain. They [the athletes] testify that to achieve success in sport requires a harmony between the body, the spirit and the mind brought about through training and discipline.”
The initiative follows the call by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 when he encouraged Christians to take part in sporting activities as "a training ground of healthy competition and physical improvement, a school of formation in the human and spiritual values, a privileged means for personal growth and contact with society."
Also echoing that call was Paralympics medallist and professional athlete for Great Britain, Stef Reid. "Our bodies matter and they are good. That’s why it’s so important that we don’t neglect them,” she said in video message recorded for today.
So to paraphrase Lord Tebbitt, perhaps we all should get on our bikes…

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 12:42 pm