Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

Episode 114

5 APR 2021

The Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. He has run 24 marathons in 17 cities, three of those in Europe. He is nicknamed “the holy goalie” for — to this day — continuing to play that position in hockey.  In 2013 he was inducted into the Sports Faith International Hall of Fame.  He has just put out a brand-new book called, “Running for a Higher Purpose: 8 Steps to Spiritual and Physical Fitness,” which follows a book he had previously written called, “Holy Goals for Body & Soul: 8 Steps to Connect Sports with God and Faith.”

Guest quotes:

“I’m from a large family.  I’m the third of nine children.  There are seven boys in my family and so we sort of had our own built-in sports teams.  There was always someone to play with.”

“It seemed a lot of my early life was centered around sports and faith, and that’s kind of interesting how that’s panned out later with the books I’ve written about the connection between sports and faith.”

“I was only about four years old, my mother said I was starting to talk about wanting to be a priest.”

“There were about five thousand of us runners and we gathered in St. Peter’s Square.  And the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, gave the Noon Angelus, as he usually did from his apartment window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.  And then he gave a blessing… for all the marathon runners and then he said… ‘Have a good marathon’.”

“We should treat our bodies with respect, and we should take care of them because this is a gift to us from God’s creation.”

“When I’m running, I have a little finger rosary with ten beads on each string, and I’m saying the rosary while I’m running.”

“We might think, ‘Well, saints are holy people that you read about in books.’  I’ve actually met a couple saints, so it’s very personal for me.  I had the good fortune of meeting Saint John Paul II several times… Then also had the opportunity while I was living in Rome to meet Mother Teresa.  I used to say Mass for her community, the Missionaries of Charity, at their convent, San Gregorio, behind the Colosseum in Rome.”

“Those good habits in both our physical and spiritual lives are what lead us then to this sense of seeking oneness or unity with God.”

“I think we have to take a longer view of things, that when we’re confronted with something that’s not going right or that we’re discouraged with it, to have trust in God and to just believe that we should, again, be consistent and we should stick to it.  That we have to be confident that God will see us through this, and His goodness and His grace will overcome all of these evils in the end.”

Related link:

Bishop Paprocki’s two books