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A Step on the Road to Manhood
Sports Tournament in Michigan honors newly named saint, John Paul II

An ECyD sports tournament in Michigan honored a new saint in a special way the weekend of May 9-11, 2014.

The 17th annual John Paul II Sports Tournament took place this month at Everest Academy in Clarkston, Michigan, just two weeks after the tournament’s namesake was canonized by the Catholic Church.

One hundred and seventy five boys, organized into 24 teams, participated in the three-day tournament, in hockey, soccer, basketball, and a catechism contest.

“It is an opportunity to bring kids together from different schools, provide an experience of friendship, sports, fun and faith together, and hopefully also help them grow in their convictions that will help them make good decisions going forward,” said Br. Kramer Cameron LC, one of the event organizers. “I think a sports tournament of 175 kids with Christ at the center is a positive and powerful experience. I love this quote from Pope Benedict: ‘The exact meaning of (the word) Catholic is synthesis. I would therefore be against having to choose between either playing football or studying Sacred Scripture or Canon Law. Let us do both these things.’”

The JPII Tournament, as it has come to be called, involves single elimination competition with playoffs in all four categories.

“The finals for the senior division catechism, soccer and basketball games took place in the main gym Saturday night in front of an electrified crowd,” said Br. Kevin Gore LC, who also helped organize the event.

The soccer games took place on Friday and were played on the outside field, but were threatened a bit by inclement weather.  A bit of Divine intervention may have helped, organizers believe, thanks to a tournament tradition involving the recitation of the rosary. The first day the boys had to come inside to say the rosary in the school gymnasium following a severe weather alert.  Afterwards the weather cleared and remained clear the rest of the weekend.  Saturday’s weather was such an improvement that the rosary was held in its usual location, around the outdoor campus statue of Our Lady.

“It was a bit of a miracle,” said Br. Kevin.

The tournament wrapped up Sunday with a Mother’s Day Mass in which the participants each presented their mothers in attendance with a rose. An award ceremony followed, closing with a video chronicling the event.

“I was happy to be part of the JPII organizational team because of the spirit that we created,” said Br. Kevin. “I often wondered why it is that we put on tournaments in the first place – so many teams participate, but only one takes the gold in each sport. But this year I learned that competition isn’t primarily about winning – it is about challenging yourself to become better. The JPII tournament is an opportunity for these young men to grow towards maturity. What a healthy way to spend the weekend -- having a blast with friends and taking one more step down the road to manhood.”



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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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