Building Muscle and Virtue

This past weekend we celebrated the virtue of three athletes and a coach - people who have made a tremendous difference in the lives of others. Over 200 people came to honor them and it was a tribute to the power of influence.

Congratulations to Joseph Fisher, Lauren Hall, Nicholas Holden and Coach Trent Todd. We are blessed to have you in our lives.

We also got a little press. Here is an article from the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Building muscles - and virtue

Written by Jeanne Houck

MADEIRA — St. Peter urged Christians to supplement their faith with virtue.

Now, St. Gertrude is asking its school’s coaches to supplement their athletic efforts with the same kind of moral excellence.

St. Gertrude School in Madeira has joined SportsLeader, Inc., which trains and provides materials for coaches of grade-school, high-school and college athletic teams to deliver “virtue talks” to students, who also are mentored by adult participants.

Based in Louisville, SportsLeader works with private and public athletic programs at schools throughout the United States and Canada ranging from the St. Xavier High School wrestling team to the Michigan State University football program.

“Following our successful work at implementing a virtue-centered program in our parochial school, I was encouraged by many parents to begin a virtue-centered program in our boosters’ sports program,” said the Rev. AndrĂ©-Joseph LaCasse, pastor of St. Gertrude Church, also in Madeira.

“There was talk that our children needed to be formed in virtue in all disciplines of their lives.”

LaCasse said he asked several of the parents who brought the issue to his attention to form an exploratory advisory board to look into virtue-centered sports programs for St. Gertrude School, which offers pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

“After looking at several, we decided on SportsLeader and contacted Lou Judd, the promoter of the program,” LaCasse said.

“Lou was local and was able to give us all the time we needed to look into his program and begin the training.

“At first it was a challenge, and we had to do a lot of explaining to get the families, coordinators and coaches on board,” LaCasse said.

“Overall it has been a great success. Although we still experience some challenges with the program, the success of our football program last fall with SportsLeader gave us the momentum to continue into the other sports programs.

“We hope to continue to build on the good that has been done, and hope that all will see the great value in this program for our parish,” LaCasse said.

Sal Fucito, head coach of St. Gertrude School’s seventh- and eighth-grade football team, said the “virtue talks” given students revolve around what it means to be a man or a woman, what virtue is, the core virtues of charity, humility and courage – and challenges to be more virtuous.

Fucito said he is learning a lot from the experience.

“As the head coach of the seventh-/eighth-grade football team, I realized I needed to live the life God has called me to live, a life that reflects His Son,” Fucito said.

“If I tried to fake it the kids would never believe in what we were teaching. So I dove into the Word (Bible) and got back to praying to God.

“God used (SportsLeader) to make me a better coach, a better husband, a better father and a better servant of Christ,” Fucito said.