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01 Jul 2015 Articles Resources Comments (26)

Meet Father Salvatore, the young priest whose life moved the Pope

The life of Father Salvatore Mellone, who died on Monday 26th June 2015, was touching to thousands of people. He was to have at least two more years of seminary…

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05 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (5)

May my girlfriend and I be intimate with one another before marriage?

Full Question A priest told my girlfriend that it is okay for us to touch one another intimately before we are married. Is this correct? Answer N…

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16 Jun 2015 Articles Resources Comments (1)

Thomas Merton, Lent, and the Perils of Avoiding Suffering

We spend one day a week not eating meat, and on a few days we skip meals altogether. We voluntarily deprive ourselves of good things. We intentionally pon…

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20 Feb 2016 Articles Comments (5)

The Hell There Is!

The doctrine of hell is so frightening that numerous heretical sects end up denying the reality of an eternal hell. The Unitarian-Universalists, the Seventh-day…

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03 Apr 2015 Q&A No comments

Why is St. Therese of Lisieux (1873–1897) a patron of aviators?

Full Question Why is St. Therese of Lisieux (1873–1897) a patron of aviators? Answer In the early years of the twentieth century, St. Therese’s spi…

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04 Jul 2015 Articles No comments

Is passionate kissing only moral within marriage?

May a man and a woman who are dating, but unmarried, engage in passionate kissing? Is passionate kissing outside of marriage moral, or a venial sin, or a mortal…

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02 Jun 2016 Vatican No comments

God has a weakness for humble hearts, Pope says at audience

The Pope continued his catechetical series on prayer at his latest general audience While the prayer of a proud person isn’t strong enough to reach God’s heart…

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19 Feb 2016 Articles No comments

Pontifical Effect

Raphael Sanzio gets credit for a style of papal portraiture that lasted more than four centuries. It began with his portrait of Julius II (reigned 1503–1513), w…

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01 Aug 2015 Q&A Comments (2)

Call No Man "Father"?

Many Protestants claim that when Catholics address priests as "father," they are engaging in an unbiblical practice that Jesus forbade: "Call no man your father…

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Olympic swimming champion will pray the Hail Mary before Rio races

Katie Ledecky has said that she still offers a ‘prayer or two’ before she competes

An Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer and world record holder has revealed that praying the Hail Mary calms her down before she competes in a race.

Four years ago in London, at age of 15, US swimmer Katie Ledecky won Olympic gold in the women’s 800-metre freestyle.

Since then Ledecky, who attended Catholic schools in Bethesda, Maryland, has become the world record holder in the 400-, 800- and 1500-metre freestyles, and the American record holder in the 500-, 1000- and 1650-yard freestyles.

In the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she will compete in the 200-, 400-, and 800-metre freestyle.

Before every race, she’ll offer a prayer, she told the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.

“I do say a prayer – or two – before any race. The Hail Mary is a beautiful prayer and I find that it calms me,” she told the Catholic Standard in an email interview.

In the interview, Ledecky discussed how her faith is a source of strength and how the communities at home have supported her along the road to her second Olympics.

She attended Little Flower School and Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart for high school.

“I received an excellent, faith-filled education at both schools. Having the opportunity to attend academically rigorous schools has facilitated my interest in the world and in serving others and has enriched my life so that it is not solely focused on my swimming and athletics,” Ledecky said in the email.

“Nevertheless, going to these schools was important to my swimming – my Catholic schools challenged me, they broadened my perspective and they allowed me to use my mind in ways that take me beyond just thinking about swim practices, swim meets and sports.”

She also spoke of the support and caring she received from students, teachers, administrators and coaches, some of who travelled to Omaha, Nebraska, to cheer for her during the Olympic trials.

“I feel that I have very special people in my life and, because of that, I feel very fortunate,” she said.

“The importance of balance in one’s life is a lesson I have learned, and one that I hope will help me in college and beyond,” said Ledecky, who will attend Stanford University in the fall.

“My Catholic faith is very important to me. It always has been and it always will be. It is part of who I am and I feel comfortable practicing my faith. It helps me put things in perspective,” she said.

Thea LaFond, a parishioner at St John the Evangelist Parish in Silver Spring, Maryland, has also discovered that she is bound for the Olympics.

She will represent her home country, Dominica, in the triple jump, part of track and field competition.

The first thing she did was thank God and ask: “How did you do this, God? How did this happen?”

While she was just shy of the qualifying mark for the Olympics, each country is entitled to two athletes – one male and one female  -and since Dominica only had a male entrant, the Olympic Committee accepted LaFond as the female competitor.


1 comment

  1. Pingback: ‘I’m going to go out and glorify God’s name’: the Christian athletes at the Rio Olympics - Catholic News Service

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