In secular France, chaplains prepare to provide Olympians with spiritual support during the Games

by | Jun 9, 2024 | Sports

PARIS — As athletes rev up their training and organizers finalize everything from ceremonies to podiums before the Paris Olympics, more than 120 faith leaders are preparing for a different challenge — spiritually supporting some 10,000 Olympic athletes from around the world, especially those whose medal dreams will inevitably get crushed.“We’ll need to bring them back to earth, because it can feel like the end of the world after working on this goal for four or five years,” said Jason Nioka, a former judo champion and deacon who’s in charge of the largest contingent of Olympic chaplains, about 40 Catholic priests, nuns and lay faithful.Ordained and lay representatives from the five major global religions — Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism — have been working together for months to set up a shared hall in the Olympic village outside Paris.There, they will provide some worship services, prayers and, above all, a non-judgmental listening ear to any athletes or staff in need, regardless of faith. “We’re not there to have them win,” said Anne Schweitzer, who’s coordinating about three dozen Protestant chaplains, the second-largest group. “My goal is to have a Christian witness there, people who embody the love and care of Jesus, for the athletes who are under so much pressure.”There’s a history of high demand for Olympic chaplains. Requests exceeded 8,000 in the …

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[mwai_chat context=”Let’s have a discussion about this article:nnPARIS — As athletes rev up their training and organizers finalize everything from ceremonies to podiums before the Paris Olympics, more than 120 faith leaders are preparing for a different challenge — spiritually supporting some 10,000 Olympic athletes from around the world, especially those whose medal dreams will inevitably get crushed.“We’ll need to bring them back to earth, because it can feel like the end of the world after working on this goal for four or five years,” said Jason Nioka, a former judo champion and deacon who’s in charge of the largest contingent of Olympic chaplains, about 40 Catholic priests, nuns and lay faithful.Ordained and lay representatives from the five major global religions — Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism — have been working together for months to set up a shared hall in the Olympic village outside Paris.There, they will provide some worship services, prayers and, above all, a non-judgmental listening ear to any athletes or staff in need, regardless of faith. “We’re not there to have them win,” said Anne Schweitzer, who’s coordinating about three dozen Protestant chaplains, the second-largest group. “My goal is to have a Christian witness there, people who embody the love and care of Jesus, for the athletes who are under so much pressure.”There’s a history of high demand for Olympic chaplains. Requests exceeded 8,000 in the …nnDiscussion:nn” ai_name=”RocketNews AI: ” start_sentence=”Can I tell you more about this article?” text_input_placeholder=”Type ‘Yes'”]
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