John Paul II Quotes about Sport

“Playing sport has become very important today, since it can encourage young people to develop important values such as loyalty, perseverance, friendship, sharing and solidarity.”

“Sport is a factor of emancipation for poor countries and helps to eradicate intolerance and build a more brotherly and united world.”

“Sport...protects the weak and excludes no-one...frees young people from the snares of apathy and indifference and arouses a healthy sense of competition in them.”

“Sports, in fact, can make an effective contribution to peaceful understanding between peoples and to establishing the new civilization of love.”

“Sports contribute to the love of life, teaches sacrifice, respect and responsibility, leading to the full development of every human person.”

“Every Christian is called to become a strong athlete of Christ, that is, a faithful and courageous witness to his Gospel.  But to succeed in this, he must persevere in prayer, be trained in virtue and follow the divine Master in everything.”

“Sport trains body and spirit for perseverance, effort, courage, balance, sacrifice, honesty, friendship and collaboration.”

“Give thanks to God for the gift of sport, in which the human person exercises his body, intellect and will, recognising these abilities as so many gifts of his Creator.”

“Lord Jesus Christ, Help these athletes to be your friends and witnesses to your love.  Help them to put the same effort into personal asceticism that they do into sports; help them to achieve a harmonious and cohesive unity of body and soul.”

“May they be sound models to imitate for all who admire them.  Help them always to be athletes of the spirit, to win your inestimable prize; an imperishable crown that lasts forever.

“The correct practice of sport must be accompanied by practicing the virtues of temperance and sacrifice; frequently it also requires a good team spirit, respectful attitudes, the appreciation of the qualities of others, honesty in the game and humility to recognize one’s own limitations.  In short, sports, especially in less competitive forms, foster festive celebration and friendly coexistence with the Christian outlook, becomes a “generative principle” of profound human relations and encourages the building of a more serene and supportive world.”

"In the midst of all this entertainment, you referees have a fundamental role to play. Your capacity to judge in a quick, accurate and impartial manner will contribute greatly to ensuring that the rules of the game are respected and that good sportsmanship is maintained."

"I hope, above all, that you approach this competition with that disciplined and focussed attitude which helps to form every person and which can teach order, loyalty and respect for people and laws as well as being a training ground for building strength and dignified behaviour."

"It is important that you know how to witness to the masses who follow your sporting abilities. As athletes, before being fit and skilled in responding quickly on the pitch, be men who seek after and conform to all that is good, true and excellent. Make sure that man is never sacrificed to sport!"

"When facing fundamental questions about existence, even the greatest sporting champions find themselves defenceless and in need of God’s light in order to overcome the difficult challenges that human beings are called to face."

"Athletic competition develops some of the noblest qualities and talents in people. They must learn the secret of their own bodies, their strengths and weaknesses, their struggles and breaking points. They must develop the capacity to concentrate and the habit of self-discipline through long hours of exercise and fatigue as they learn to take account of their own strength. They must also learn how to preserve energy for the final moment when victory will depend upon a burst of speed or a last push of strength."

"The Church cannot but encourage everything that serves in harmoniously developing the human body. It is rightly considered the masterpiece of the whole of creation, not only because of its proportion, strength, and beauty, but also and especially because God has made it His dwelling place and the instrument of an immortal soul, breathing into it that "breath of life" by which man is made in His image and likeness."

"The dignity of sport is increased when it is inspired by healthy principles and is void of excessive risky behaviour by athletes and the disturbing attitudes by some fans who get carried away during competition."

"Sport is an activity that involves more than the movement of the body; it demands the use of intelligence and the disciplining of the will. It reveals, in other words, the wonderful structure of the human person created by God as a spiritual being, a unity of body and spirit. If sport is reduced to the cult of the human body, forgetting the primacy of the spirit, or if it were to hinder your moral and intellectual development, or result in you serving less than noble aims, then it would lose its true significance and, in the long run, it would become even harmful to your healthy full growth as human persons.You are true athletes when you prepare yourselves not only by training your bodies but also by constantly engaging the spiritual dimensions of your person for a harmonious development of all your talents."


John Paul II Foundation for Sport

In 2014 St. Mary's Menston joined the John Paul II Foundation for Sport.

The scheme was launched by Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to the UK in 2010. The Foundation is inspired by Pope John's Paul's own vision of sport's unique potential to develop individuals and communities. St. Mary's were the fifth school in the country to be accepted into the Foundation

Pope John Paul II Honour for St. Mary's