Deacon, Seminarian Use Sports as a Tool to Foster Catholic Community

Catholic Young Adult Sports is growing as a community, drawing in a great diversity of people as a result, including some seminarians currently attending Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary.  Deacon Joe McLagan has been participating in CYAS for over two years.  He heard about the organization from Paul Spotts, the founder of CYAS, at St. Thomas More parish.  Deacon Joe signed up to play volleyball and since then has played wiffle ball and basketball, also serving as a team captain.  Deacon Joe invited seminarian John Paul Lewis to join his wiffle ball team last fall, which led to John Paul's involvement with CYAS.  John Paul admits that he had heard of CYAS from several friends at the seminary before he joined the wiffle ball team.  He has now played basketball and ultimate frisbee as well.  Both Deacon Joe and John Paul enjoy CYAS because it gives them an opportunity to be involved with a community outside the seminary.

 Deacon Joe said that sports have always been a part of his life and he has seen how God has used that venue as a way for him to network through Christ. Sports provide good outlets for congregating and competing.  Deacon Joe added that sports give a different perspective of himself when he shows up in gym shorts instead of his clericals. He can meet and get to know young people in an environment where they feel comfortable--"you can meet them where they are."  John Paul commented that it is nice to be part of CYAS without being perceived as the "assigned seminarian" there to act in a certain role. He wishes he had more time to spend with CYAS and enjoys going out to local restaurants after the games. There is always a designated local restaurant for CYAS players to go after playing sports all afternoon to hangout, eat food and socialize. These gatherings show how much emphasis CYAS places on community. CYAS is open to all young adults whether they are Catholic or not. John Paul believes that one of the strengths of the CYAS community is providing opportunities to witness while revealing a different aspect of Catholicism.

 Deacon Joe and John Paul both remarked on how sports can be used as a tool to foster Catholic community and deepen the community's call to holiness. Deacon Joe said that CYAS uses two common languages--sports and Christianity. This combination allows an opportunity to show God through sports. Sports can serve as a foundation for demonstrating what living a life in Christ truly means. John Paul echoed this sentiment by saying that CYAS combines two of his favorite things, sports and Catholicism. He has found it incredibly inspiring to see Catholicism in action outside the seminary, and added that he can clearly see CYAS participants striving for holiness.

 Playing a sport can be a model to follow when seeking a deeper relationship with our Lord. John Paul compared the sacrifices made by athletes and Christians. John Paul wishes that there could be an active chapter of CYAS in his hometown of Oklahoma City. John Paul believes in the importance of supporting CYAS. He recognizes that if it was not for CYAS scholarships he would not be able to participate in the sports offered. Deacon Joe, who will be ordained this May, stated that anything good needs support. In his words, “CYAS can become an apostolate that exhibits virtue that is found in sports and can extend to charity which is always rooted in Christ.” Since part of the CYAS mission is to provide its participants a way to encounter Christ, the organization will continue to flourish.

Anna Mann

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FAQs

CYAS is a 501c3 non-profit charity, meaning donations are tax-deductible to the degree allowed by law. Like nearly all charities we have a revenue generating side through our sports leagues (e.g. red cross sells blood from blood drives) and a larger fundraising/charity side that is the heart of why we do the sports (discipleship through Bible studies, retreats, and mission trips). CYAS'  revenue from leagues is not nearly enough to cover the expenses for a national outreach ministry. In fact, it isn't even enough after expenses for one full-time staff employee. Donations primarily serve our mission in these main areas:

  1. To cover players that receive free scholarships for playing in our leagues (10% of participants)
  2. Expansion of our services in existing locations (including marketing for outreach and the development of formation programs)
  3. Expansion efforts (including our need for support staff and office space to build a national system - think league operation support, national marketing, donation processing and servicing, accounting, legal support, and expansion related travel and training systems)
  4. To pay for our insurance cost (about $10,000/year and growing as we grow)
  5. The ongoing formation, training and community building among our missionaries. They need to be loved in order to continue sharing His love
The captain's deposit is just that, a deposit ensuring us of your teams participation in the league. It is non-refundable, because we get field time and schedule around your team being playable. Captains with unused deposits will normally be offered a league credit, if CYAS is notified before the end of registration that the captain's team will not be in the league.

Full refunds will be provided for any event that we cannot hold due to field scheduling conflicts, lack of interest, or any other cancellation of a league/event on our part.

If a player is injured and will miss the remainder of the league, we suggest they help recruit a permanent sub and ask them to subsidize their fees (please contact us so we are aware of the arrangements & injury, or for help finding possible replacements).

Free agents and donations are non-refundable. Credits may be given to free agents for leagues, if they notify us before registration closes.

We wouldn't be "Catholic" Young Adult Sports if we weren't!

Several teams have both spouses playing and bring babies or kids to be watched by substitutes on the bench or by bringing a friend/relative spectator. Many captains will also let the couple share a team fee and just not play at the same time depending on if the team needs a man or woman. Couples may also free agent and join a team in this method, just contact us if you plan on rotating play and want a discounted team fee.

DEFINITELY BRING THE KIDS OUT! ALL OF OUR SOCIALS ARE EVEN AT FAMILY FRIENDLY SPORTS BARS (unless otherwise specified)

The Catholic Church is not adverse to the use of alcohol by adults in moderation.In fact, it was customary for Jews to drink wine within religious celebrations and regularly with meals. Jesus himself made good wine abundant at the Wedding of Cana and ultimately transformed wine into the gift of his blood, which we receive at the Catholic mass offered daily. Therefore, we are comfortable with the casual and responsible enjoyment of alcohol and are not adverse to gathering after a game at the local family friendly sports bar for fellowship and to enjoy a drink, and/or meal, in moderation.

We do ask participants to please refrain from consumption during our leagues out of respect for our participants who are opposed to the consumption of alcohol, are underage, and to help us provide a good witness that healthy fun community can exist without the assistance of liquid spirits.

It is CYAS policy that during CYAS events, where alcohol is allowed, only beer and wine may be consumed, no hard liquor or mixed drinks.

JOIN AS A FREE AGENT! We'll place you on a team or create a team of other FAs for you. If you only have a few friends you want to play with you can also ask to be placed together with others on a team or have some FAs added to complete your team.
CYAS has a strategic plan of national growth to reach young adults, evangelize through Bible studies and retreats, and provide awesome kick butt sport leagues, social events and mission trips. We have a hurdle though...missionary staff! We are praying for the Lord of the Harvest to provide laborers. If you know someone interested please send them to this link and suggest they apply to discern with us: www.catholicyoungadultsports.com/career