On April 12, some 161 athletes will be honored for intangibles of the Catholic faith they have displayed during competition.
The Faith Through Sports Recognition ceremony will take place at Sacred Heart Cathedral beginning at 7 p.m. Father Kevin McKenna, the cathedral’s pastor, will officiate. Ed Knauf, a retiring high-school girls’ coach from Irondequoit’s St. Margaret Mary Parish, will give a witness presentation.
Faith Through Sports Recognition pays tribute to athletes in grades 3 through 12 who compete in diocesan Catholic Youth Organization programs. Honorees come from numerous parishes and schools in Monroe County, with representation from the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier as well. Parishes and schools are invited to nominate one boy and one girl from each age group in their respective sport. The April 12 ceremony will focus on CYO basketball players and cheerleaders who recently completed their season.
Among the criteria that athletes are asked to meet: consistently demonstrating Catholic values and Christian behavior by word and example; demonstrating the qualities of a team player; working toward both team and personal goals; being a positive role model to teammates; honoring the game through respect for team, opponents and officials; and being active in one’s faith.
"This award recognizes the attributes that we try to foster for success both on and off the court. Its foundation is faith, teamwork, commitment and attitude," stated Geri Pietrzak, diocesan CYO administrator. She added that Faith Through Sports Recognition "is a testament to the importance the diocese has placed on its CYO athletic programs. Sports are more than Xs and Os, strategy and developing skill sets. Sports are also about developing the mind and spiritual well-being through a strong faith-based foundation."
Faith Through Sports Recognition was initiated in the Rochester Diocese during the 2006-07 school year as a means of honoring sports participants beyond their athletic accomplishments. Pietrzak noted that this is a high honor requiring nomination by coaches and approval of pastors/pastoral administrators, saying that athletes who receive this recognition have truly earned it.