More than 60 female student-athletes attended a retreat that aims to “help the athletes understand that God desires a relationship with them personally” this year at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.
“The presence of faith within the athletics department sets Mount St. Mary's apart as an NCAA Division I university,” according to the University’s website. The Faith and Athletics program through the University’s athletic department includes men’s and women’s Bible studies, a sports chaplaincy program, and a Varsity Catholic missionary.
Mount seminarians who serve as team chaplains helped organize the retreat. The University reports:
Matthew Hoelscher, now in his sixth year in the Mount St. Mary's seminary, was one of the many team chaplains who helped plan the event. From the diocese of Peoria, Hoelscher is now a Catholic deacon and will be ordained a priest in May. "Between the seminarian chaplains and our Varsity Catholic missionary, we divided up the jobs, laid out the structure and schedule of the day, and discussed our objectives for the retreat," said Hoelscher. "Jenna Lewis, the Varsity Catholic missionary on campus, was a huge help as she brought the one thing that we all lacked for an all-female retreat: a female perspective. Her presence and connection with the teams throughout this semester brought a lot of the athletes to the retreat."
"As chaplains, we came away with the sense of how blessed the Mount is with such amazing female student-athletes.," Hoelscher said. "As much as they desire to succeed on the field, the court, the track, or in the pool, they also desire to deepen their relationships with God."
Jay Phillips, associate head coach of the Mount's cross country and track and field squads, explained, "The collaboration between sport chaplains, Varsity Catholic Missionaries, student-athlete leaders, and the athletic department is amazing in helping our student-athletes not only grow in their faith, but also use their faith to be excellent in their vocation as athletes. The Mount is proud to be forming student-athletes and future leaders in such a distinctive manner."
Mount St. Mary’s University is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.
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