Pope Francis gives blessing to Glasgow conference
Pope Francis has sent his good wishes and prayers to athletes and theologians gathering for a conference in Glasgow on the eve of the Commonwealth Games.
Sponsored by the Bishops Conference of Scotland, Celebrating the Gift in Sport will explore how sport and faith can combine to champion the gifts of each person – especially people with disabilities – while promoting values of solidarity and respect.
The conference takes place on Thursday 17 July (9.30am to 5pm) at Blessed John Duns Scotus church hall (Ballater St, Glasgow G5 0YT) in the Gorbals.
It will be opened by the Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, who said: “With his message for our Conference, Pope Francis has shown himself close to all athletes and to everyone who enjoys sport as a means of celebrating the sheer joy of the gift of life and of promoting the dignity and potential of the human person.”
The Archbishop added: “The Glasgow Commonwealth Games is an ideal opportunity for us to celebrate that gift and proclaim the dignity, respect and purpose that God bestows on all people, no matter their ability or nationality.”
Speakers at the conference include 2004 Olympic sprint relay champion Jason Gardener, Special Olympian Leanne Peter, paralympian Frank McGuire, former British Taekwondo champion-turned broadcaster John Cullen, Gordon McCormack chair of Scottish Disability Sport, and Professor John Swinton and Christina Gangemi of the Kairos Forum at the University of Aberdeen.
Members of the Cornerstone Community will tell how sport has changed their life, building up their confidence and providing opportunities to influence wider society.
Conference ticket (£40 per person) includes lunch – simply come along on the day and pay at the door
The entire tone of the “Games” material coming from the Catholic Church in Glasgow is ecumenical. Check out the Programme of speakers and topics for the above conference, held yesterday, if you haven’t already done so. The problem, arguably, is that this major event, which will be reported not only across the UK but around the world, is an opportunity missed for the Catholic Church. There’s been no conference organised to invite athletes, visitors, spectators, whoever, to come and learn about Catholicism, just some vague talk about celebrating “the Gift” in sport, vaguely linking “Faith” and sport. I’ve yet to be convinced that the Archdiocesan authorities mean “The Catholic Faith”, so, if you think you can do so, convince me!
Otherwise, share your ideas about how the Church might have used this event to spread knowledge and understanding of our Catholic religion. Should the Church be engaging in some good old fashioned evangelisation during the next couple of weeks when the city of Glasgow will be alive with visitors from around the globe? If so, what sort of events could have been offered? Or is it enough just to have some kind of “Faith presence” in place?