OCEANIA/PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Bishops' Letter for the "Pacific Games": Sport, a tool for growth

Monday, 11 May 2015

Port Moresby (Agenzia Fides) - "The Catholic Church recognises sport to be one of the great institutions of our society that helps individuals realise their human potential and builds up the bonds of the community, fostering communal initiative and responsibility" This is what the Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands said in a pastoral letter in view of XV edition of the Pacific Games, to be held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, from 4 to 18 July 2015.
The Letter, sent to Fides, says: "Sport contributes to physical and mental health and wellbeing. It teaches people, particularly young people skills and resilience. When youth become involved in sport, they devote their energies to teaming together in a healthy environment, forgetting about antisocial activities such as violence and crime".
"Sport - continue the Bishops - brings people together in new ways: Parents and teachers volunteer their time to organise events". In addition, sport is for everyone. And special sports competitions "are open to athletes with disabilities": this is another very positive sign.
Sport, says the Letter - signed by Bishop Arnold Orowae, President of the Episcopal Conference – on one hand "opens us up to the outside world", as we see athletes of all nationalities, on the other hand increases "national pride", when an athlete of his own country wins a competition.
The text continues: "When interactions offer fun, competition, skill and goal-setting, there is a fertile environment for personal development. Sport builds character. It teaches us discipline as we learn to play by the rules. It promotes fairness, firmness and moral courage, there exists a wonderful space in which to help young people grow into adulthood".
Sometimes there is violence on the field or among spectators and, the Bishops conclude with the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor 9,25): "Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 11/05/2015)