Established in 2008, CAC’s Cathletes™ elementary, middle, high school and university chapter program builds on the specific invitation and exhortation of Pope Saint John Paul II to evangelize the world of sports and encourage all Catholic athletes to share the reason for their joy (Jesus Christ) in all things. Nearly 70 schools across the country, including all the diocesan high schools in Trenton (N.J.) and Springfield (Ill.) have either established CAC chapters or are in the final stages of launching the program and other schools are contacting CAC each week to get more information on starting a chapter. The CAC Cathletes in Trenton produced a short video highlighting their local chapter programs (see below).
Chapter lessons are Sacramentally focused and always begin with sports terminology and stories and then interweave the faith analogies and teachings. For example, the lessons discuss the importance of the virtue of fortitude for individual and team performance and then (and only then) do they explain the theological underpinnings of the virtue as applied to the whole athlete. Our approach is on the teachings of the Catholic Church on the dignity of the human person based on the divinely created wholeness of the body, mind, and soul.
“The CAC Cathletes™ chapter program has helped spark and reinforce Catholic beliefs within our school community. Our athletic program comes in contact with many different types of schools within our high school athletic association. Having our athletes reflect and represent the core values of CAC in every competition they participate in is a strong evangelization tool. It is a small movement that is having a tremendous impact at both the local and state level.” – Mark Jeanmard, Athletic Director and Softball Coach, John Paul II Catholic High School, Slidell, La.
The Cathletes™ chapter program integrates informative and inspiring sports material with more important Catholic based teachings such as the Holy Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It enlists the service of recognized and successful current and former professional athletes and coaches such as Mike Piazza, Mike Sweeney, Phillip Rivers, Jack Del Rio, Joe Lombardi, and Craig Stammen, to name but a few, to explain the centrality of Catholicism and its teachings to their athletic successes and personal lives.
We invite you and your school to join our Cathletes™ chapter “team” as we embark on an exciting and fun-filled journey to become the best version of ourselves we can be on and off the playing field. The Cathletes™ curriculum derives its uniqueness by combining diverse and seeming unrelated items such as the musings of Yogi Berra and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI into a compelling series of lessons. Each lesson and our entire “theology of sports” — reduced to its essence — maintain and proclaim that real sporting success is only achieved and measured by reference to eternal Truth.