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Collegiate Working Group Formed   


Under the auspices of the Pontifical Council of Culture and its Vatican Management Team, the first regional follow up conference of the “Sport at the Service of Humanity” initiative was held at Villanova University on June 7-8, 2017. The focus of the gathering was “Faith and Collegiate Sports.”

More than 100 delegates representing 28 faith based colleges and universities in the United States met to discuss how the resources of athletic departments, campus ministries and chaplaincy offices might address more intentionally the faith development and spiritual needs of student-athletes and to more fully place their combined resources “at the service of humanity.”

At the close of the conference, the Vatican Management Team, represented by Monsignor Melchor Sánchez de Toca y Alameda (Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture), Bishop Paul Tighe (Adjunct Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture), Bernard Mullin (CEO, Aspire Group) and Nick Marrone (Principal, Marrone and Associates) encouraged Barbara Wall (Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Villanova University) to form a permanent working group to facilitate continued dialogue among constituencies represented at the conference.

Among the goals of the working group are:

  • Promoting awareness of and commitment to the Vatican “Declaration of Principles” among colleges and universities, collegiate athletic conferences and related governing bodies in the United States;
  • Building stronger relationships between athletic departments and campus ministry / chaplaincy personnel;
  • Assuring that institutional mission are embedded in its athletic programs;
  • Creating a positive culture in athletic programs with a focus on inclusion;
  • Breaking down silos that may exist for student-athletes, so they can thrive as part of the larger campus community;
  • Providing resources to nurture all parts of the student-athlete, including faith and spirituality;
  • Supporting student-athletes in becoming their “whole selves,” with greater attention placed on balance in the student-athlete experience;
  • Graduating student-athletes who are well prepared to thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Delegates attending the conference were invited to volunteer for the Working Group. The composition of the inaugural committee will be determined by the Office for Mission and Ministry at Villanova University. Participants in Working Group will be selected from those that volunteered.

Full text of Villanova's Post Conference Press Release.

For more information about the event and the working group, contact Dr. Christopher M. Janosik, Director of Planning and Research at christopher.janosik@villanova.edu.

Conference Leadership

Rev. Patrick Kelly, SJ, Associate Professor of Theology at Seattle University, making his presentation at the First Regional Follow Up Conference of "Sport at the Service of Humanity." The gathering was sponsored by Villanova University, the Big East Conference and the Pontifical Council for Culture.