Soccer has long been a popular sport in Catholic circles. Soccer has a widespread following throughout the world, thus making it a wonderful meeting point for an members of an institution as diverse as the Catholic Church.
I had to include this photo I found because it was too much fun!
In fact soccer is so popular in Catholic circles that each year the seminaries in Rome compete for the "Clericus Cup"
Competition is fierce between the competing teams, as is the spirit of fraternity, pride and fun that accompanies such endeavors.
This weekend we hosted the Second Annual Vianney Cup at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. The tournament was begun last year in collaboration with Mt. St Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, Theological College in Washington, D.C. and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore.
Graciously the "Mount" (Mt. St. Mary's in Emmitsburg) hosted last year and did a wonderful job. They also won despite some tough competition. This year we were chosen to be the host of the Vianney Cup and we worked hard to not only play better than the rest, but to be gracious hosts.
Our day began with Mass in our main chapel with between 200-250 seminarians and guests. It was a beautiful expression of faith, and a wonder to see so many people who will change the face of the Church in America, gathered together in prayer and fraternity. Once Mass concluded the kind, generous and prayer filled spirit was replaced by healthy competition and lots of excitement.
In the end St. Mary's played hard and came up short, losing both matches. Mt. St. Mary's won for the second year in a row. The "Mount" has always been the favorite for these events for numerous reasons including the fact that they are nearly three times the size of the other seminaries, they have a former professional soccer star on their team, they enjoy the use of division I athletic facitilities at the University attached to the seminary. Simply put the Mount St. Mary's Seminary soccer team is a machine. The practice every day, are incredibly disciplined and committed to success. For the most part the other teams get their minds to practicing a week or two before the big game.
This year the final championship game was particularly exciting as underdog St. Charles Seminary led the Mount until the final minutes when they suffered a 5-4 loss. St. Charles deserves a lot of credit for a hard fought contest and for giving the undisputed favorites a real run for their money.
Following the final games we joined together for evening prayer, a social and a nice dinner. The end result was a hope filled and energetic day of fraternity shared by all and a reminder that the future of the Church is bright!
I have tried to include some pictures you might enjoy!
Diocese of Greensburg Seminarian Tyler Bandura taking all the popcorn for himself, or sharing it- you be the judge
A Theological College Seminarian making a shot
Lunchtime! If you look carefully you can see Diocese of Manchester Seminarian and Trinity High School Graduate Michael Sartori (he is wearing a blue t-shirt)
A hard fight battle in action
Our team's most energetic and determined player- Nhat Nyugen from the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia
Chief Soccer Tournament Organizer Manchester Seminarian Mike Zgonc with the Vice Rector- Father Ed Griswold
St. Anselm Graduate and Seminarian for the Diocese of Portland, Maine - Luc Roy
St. Mary's Seminary's newest faculty member and my canon law professor Father Leo Gajardo from the Diocese of Gary, Indiana
Diocese of Baltimore seminarian Kevin Ewing either ready for a header or about to be hit
Diocese of Pittsburgh Seminarian John Lovre intent on victory
Deacon John Madrid plots his next move
Diocese of Worcester Seminarian John Herenandez
St. Mary's Goalie- Jean Felicien- Diocese of Trenton
Diocese of Gulu, Uganda Seminarian, and Honorary New Hampshire Resident Francis Ouma
Diocese of Metuchen Seminarian and Third Theology Class President Ebaristo Pineda in action
Diocese of Syracuse Seminarian Dane Connelly defying gravity with both feet off the ground