Baptizing an Athlete

Virtues: 

Father Jonathan Meyer is a Priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He is also a Coach.

His witness is very inspiring.

We can all make this impact while we are coaching IF we are convicted Christians.

How can I live this better?

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Virtue = Strength 
SportsLeader 

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Coach and Priest

I strive to live one life- the life of a convicted Christian. Being a priest and being a cross country/track coach, at least in my mind, go hand in hand. My mission in life is to help people to become the best versions of themselves, to be the best they can be, to glorify God with their life. To preach the Gospel always and if necessary, use words.

Coaching in a public school allows me a very unique opportunity. I am a convicted Christian, I am a priest, but I am in a secular institution, thus I am challenged in a unique way to live my faith.

I often see myself as a reminder of the faith. I strive, like I hope many coaches, to coach for life lessons and not just for victories. Yet, my athletes know I am a priest. Although I might not have the opportunity to boldly profess Christ to them, they know, even those who profess to be atheists, that Christ is my life. They know in a certain sense that God is present on our team. They do not swear, they do not have crude conversations…they know that there are high expectations and they strive to meet them every day.

Last spring, two of my teen parishioners, who are also athletes I coach; on their own, invited some of their unbaptized teammates to join our parish youth group on a spring break mission trip to Sumter, SC. From that experience of mission work, daily Mass, prayers and community Kameron Geisen expressed the desire to be baptized and follow the Lord as a Roman Catholic!

I want to point out a few things here:

1- Youth challenging youth; peer to peer evangelization is key! Young people need to see their peers living their faith.

2- Service is a game changer. If we are not getting our young people engaged in service- there is a major problem. Jesus did not tell us to go and serve ourselves, He did not tell us to go and build buildings and maintain them. He did tell us to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the sick and the imprisoned. This is when most people feel most alive and closest to God- we need to get out of ourselves and get youth out of themselves.

3- It takes a community. Kameron’s conversion and his ability to make it to and through the RCIA process took an ARMY of people. He was not able to do this himself. It is called being a community. If we want young people to know the Lord and come to Him, we need to be willing to walk with them.

As a priest and a coach I cannot express the JOY that I have! As I was asking Kameron his Baptismal Promises ( I was crying). I had so many emotions: joy, happiness, satisfaction, excitement…

So many times in my relationship with him as a coach I had asked him if he was ready, if he was in the right place to race well…that night I was asking him if he was ready for the RACE of his life. I see this young man 5-6 days a week, and every day it is my role to sharpen him, train him and stretch him to be the best he can be. I know now it is no it is no longer just me- it is our Lord who will be his true coach, his true Father and his true guide in Life. What an exchange! From little me to God our Father….how awesome!

Fr. Jonathan Meyer 
Pastor, All Saints Catholic Church

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