Today in the Church we celebrate the feast of St. Sebastian, patron saint of athletes. This beautiful prayer summarizes his story very well:
Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor’s court, you chose to be a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King of Kings—for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however, proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord. May athletes be always as strong in their faith as their patron saint so clearly has been. Amen.
Whether you’re a runner, hockey player, swimmer, ballet dancer or golfer, St. Sebastian is the saint for you. Since sports span all faiths, relating the story and patronage of St. Sebastian could be a way to evangelize others. Sports becomes religion for many. Strangely enough, superstition then often creeps in.
If the sports faithful are open to “help” from other sources, then we have the opportunity to at least share this part of our faith with them. It may open doors in their lives to the Truth we know in the Catholic Church.
And let’s also remember to pray today and every day to St. Sebastian for athletes to be good role models for the youth.