Tag Archives: sport

August 13: Re-Focussing Young Minds

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During the Olympics, in 1212, a sensitive idea was brought forward by church leaders: namely to have a pre-Olympic celebration of Christianity called 100 Days of Peace. The aim was to ensure that the theme of Peace would be held to as a religious and Christian theme, especially in the minds of young school children, rather than the typical Olympic image of political peace, a kind of convenient truce between States that were, in other respects, keen to fight each other.

The Peace Corner that we set up in one area of our Newham church of St. Francis was the work of children from our primary school. We also held a prayer service with music and singing by the children and the presentation of their works of art. Themes such as the trafficking of children, the need for Fair Trade mentalities, and inter-racial friendship communicated the difficult long-term commitment needed for overcoming upheaval and distress.

Peace was presented therefore as deeply desirable but also often elusive. Not something that we can afford to treat with glibness. This is a valid point about what creates a genuinely supportive network of relationships. The Paralympics, later in the summer, were a great success, and in many ways a vindication of the churches’ message of better listening and greater kindness. To be ready to celebrate the sporting achievements of those with serious physical handicaps is the beginning of a move towards a more inclusive view of Peace.


The notion of a worshipping community as a place of inclusiveness appeared as a spirituality of initiatives among the marginalised in the days of St. Francis.

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Plain Speaking

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Giovanni Gaureschi

I used to visit an old lady who was a devout Catholic but who felt she was not a very good person because she found it so hard to confess her sins. She felt that confession and  indeed any form of prayer had to be conducted in more or less formal language and the idea of using everyday language was quite beyond her ken. So I lent her one of the novels of the renowned Italian author, Giovanni Guareschi which recounts in a very light hearted but nevertheless, heartfelt manner, the endeavours of a priest, Don Camillo, in a small provincial town to renew the faith of his somewhat  errant flock and fend off the plots of the Communist Mayor, Peppone. All the time the Priest talks to God with great faith but in ordinary, everyday language.

My little old lady sometimes laughed at these tales. But she told me that they did not really resolve her problem because all the characters were Italian and she was of Irish descent. “Well that’s no matter,” said I, “for I am of Welsh descent but we are all children of God.” She replied,” I don’t care what heathen tribe you come from as long as you give the English a good thumping in the ‘Six Nations’ and one day perhaps even the Italians will beat them too, since their morals are improving according to your book and I will speak to God about this”.


http://www.mondoguareschi.com/gallery/guareschi/gua_gall_download/image public domain

found  at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovannino_Guareschi#/media/File:Giovannino_Guareschi.jpg

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