Sports Chaplaincy Conference in Vatican City

Archbishop Steven and Reverend Christopher Hughes were invited to Vatican City for the Sports Chaplaincy Conference. The conference gave some tremendous insights and testimonies regarding the importance of sports for modern life. We heard how the Apostle Paul cited sports repeatedly within the New Testament to convey spiritual ideas. The conference allowed for the exchange of ideas with other delegates including His Eminence Cardinal José Tolentino Calaça de Mendonça who represented Pope Francis at the initial session. 

On one of the evenings they attended a reception hosted by the French Embassy in Rome and enjoyed an especially interesting conversation with Cardinal Bernard Planche from Paris. Archbishop Steven remembered his colleague Bishop Tony Palmer who was a close friend of Pope Francis and shared Archbishop Steven’s Convergency Movement mindset. He went on to further recall how Pope Francis addressed the Kenneth Copeland conference via video in 2014 and Bishop Tony’s comment that “Diversity is Divine but division is diabolic.”

Archbishop Steven and Reverend Christopher joked with Reverend Massimiliano Gabbricci the Chaplain of the Italian National Football team remembering the English defeat at Wembley and Italian supporters singing “It’s Coming Rome, It’s Coming Rome, It’s Coming, Football’s Coming Rome!” Reverend Gabbricci shared about how despite the money and the fame players have the usual human needs and vulnerabilities, the work of insightful chaplains is enormously important. He also shared with deep emotion about how his dear friend Gianluca Vialli was so kind to so many people even though he was dying. It was a testimony to the reality of Christ in his life and it continues to inspire those who knew him.

Reverend Christopher was delighted to meet with his old friend James Parker at the conference. James had travelled from Australia and he currently ministers within The John Paul II Foundation for Sport (JP2F4S) which was launched by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain in 2010. The organisation is inspired by John Paul II’s vision for sport, which has as its primary focus the building of spiritual character through excellence in sporting skills and fitness. Isn’t it wonderful to recognise that in everything spiritual character can be developed, we thank God for the wisdom to see this great insight.

Archbishop Steven observed that the Vatican’s spectacular art and architecture point to humanity being designed by their creator God. He commented that, “God made us in His image, so our passion for creating beautiful things points to us having our Heavenly Father’s genes. There is an innate desire within mankind to create and be creative, it comes from God.”