MAC Mass of Unity
The C.PP.S. MAC Mass of Unity is intended to set a good tone to the opening of fall high school sports in west central Ohio, by reminding athletes of what unites them.
The MAC (Midwest Athletic Conference) is made up of small schools with a big heart in west central Ohio. Rivalries are fierce between these schools, which are located in towns just a few miles apart.
Knowing that, Fr. Rick Nieberding, C.PP.S., initiated the C.PP.S. MAC Mass of Unity so that student athletes, their families and coaches could come together for an evening of faith before the fall sports schedule begins.
The 6th annual C.PP.S. MAC Mass of Unity was held on August 2 at the Spiritual Center of Maria Stein in Maria Stein, Ohio. Nearly 100 student-athletes, coaches, family members, parish staff members and volunteers, and Missionaries and Sisters of the Precious Blood attended.
Fr. Gene Schnipke, C.PP.S., pastor of the Marion Catholic Community, which is home to the Marion High School Flyers, welcomed all to the Mass. Though competition is fierce on the field, he said, “here, around the table of the Lord, we are all one. I ask God to bless you so that you can compete well and be spared of injury.”
Fr. Rick Nieberding, pastor of St. Augustine Church in Minster, Ohio, home of the Minster Wildcats, said that “tonight we’re not competing. We’re celebrating what holds us together: one faith, one Lord, one baptism.”
Fr. Jim Smith, C.PP.S., of the St. Henry, Ohio, cluster of parishes, home of the St. Henry Redskins, presided.
The guest speaker for the evening was Jamie Wolf, a former football standout for Minster who is the father of Ethan and Eli Wolf, also former Wildcat greats who now play for the University of Tennessee. He told the athletes that their lives will be composed of the everyday choices that they make.
“It doesn’t have to be just about athletics – it can be academics, it can be your faith life or your work: put your mind to something and say you’re not going to let fear get in your way. Whatever you want to do, do it with all your heart,” he said. “If you make great choices, great things can happen.”