Vatican City, 15 May 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis has sent a message to Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, for the international study seminar on the theme “Coaches: Educating People”, organised by the dicastery's Church and Sport section.
“We all, in life, need educators: mature, wise and balanced people who help us to grow in the family, in study, in work, in faith”, writes the Holy Father. “The presence of a good coach-educator is shown to be providential especially during the years of adolescence and early youth, when the personality is developing and in search of role models to refer to and identify with. ...In this delicate phase of life, a coach bears a great responsibility: he often has the privilege of spending many hours each week with the young and of having a great influence on them in terms of their behaviour and personality. … How important it is, then, that a coach be an example of integrity, coherence, good judgement, impartiality, and also joy, patience, and the capacity for appreciation and benevolence towards all, and especially the most disadvantaged!”.
“And how important it is for him to offer an example of faith!”, he adds. “Faith always helps us to raise our gaze towards God, and not to treat any of our activities as absolute, including sport … as well as to maintain the just distance and wisdom to put into perspective both our defeats and our victories. Faith gives us this outlook of goodness towards others which helps us overcome the temptation of excessive rivalry and aggression, which enables us to understand the dignity of each person, including those who are less gifted or privileged. The coach, in this respect, may make a very valuable contribution to creating a climate of solidarity and inclusion in relation to marginalised young people or those at risk socially, finding suitable ways and methods to involve them in sport and in the experience of socialisation. A coach with human and spiritual balance will also know how to preserve the authentic values of sport and its fundamental nature as a game and social activity, ensuring that it does not become distorted under the pressure of many interests, especially those of an economic nature, which are increasingly evident nowadays”.