Men enter seminary to discern the priesthood, which, more fully, means going through the process of formation to produce an “integrated man.” Integration, in this sense, translates to a well-rounded, healthy man. Each aspect of formation impacts all the other aspects.
The ancient philosopher Plato, when discussing education, argues that each child, in addition to academics, should receive musical and athletic training. Plato knew that achieving proficiency in many different areas only produces a healthier and more interesting person than an individual with proficiency in only one aspect of life. At Conception, we have many opportunities to pursue physical training. Every year, we host a soccer and volleyball event called the Thunder Cup Tournament. We invite other seminaries to our campus to fight for athletic achievement on the court and the pitch.
Of course, athletic achievement is not possible without athletic training. Intense practices are scheduled into already busy daily routines to challenge our mental and physical toughness. Fitness is a rare field of endeavor that strengthens the mind as one strengthens his body. This training reaches an entertaining climax at the ultimate test, namely the Thunder Cup Tournament. We put our training to the test as we seek athletic victory against our brother seminarians.
Athletic training has many biproducts of which we can enjoy the fruits. A particularly sweet biproduct is the growth of fraternity. Competing against other seminaries shows us the beauty of the universal Church. Whether we win or lose, at the end of the day, we are all seminarians trying to become men conformed to Christ to labor in His vineyard. The Thunder Cup Tournament draws seminarians together to enjoy one another’s company while pushing our limits to achieve excellence of mind and body.
— Noah Huddleston
Diocese of Grand Island