By: Joseph Schaefer
The last time I participated in a soccer tournament was back in 2015 and I didn’t really know what to expect from such a gathering of seminarians from all over Australia in Melbourne.
Do not get me wrong, I had been looking forward to this tournament for months. To meet and compete with six other seminaries from across Australia the only things I knew were: I had been neglecting my running routine, to watch out for the Neocats and to minimise fibre in my breakfast. However, despite my trepidations, the tournament was a brilliant success.
An icy cold morning provided a bracing start to the day and although the rain of the previous night slowed the ball in the first few games, the teamwork between our players and the fruits of our training started to pay off. We knew our first game was critical against Good Shepherd (Sydney), but despite a close match, a lucky corner slipped in, finishing the game with a 0-1 loss. Over the rest of the day, we only lost one other match, winning four against the teams from Wagga, Parramatta, Queensland and the Missionaries of God’s Love but despite a better aggregate than last year, we just missed out on the final, won by the same Good Shepherd Sydney.
As much as I would have loved to play in the final and see Corpus Christi win the much-coveted cup, I cannot help but look back with a real sense of happiness on that weekend. I got was able to meet such a variety of people, from the selfless Knights of the Southern Cross, who prepared food for hungry seminarians in the midst of the soccer tournament, to the family and friends who came out to support us in our home city, to old friends in other seminaries with whom a meeting had been long overdue.
Being able to eat, compete and pray with almost 200 young men is something that never ordinarily happens in the life of an Australian seminarian. Also, being in a room stuffed to overflowing with men who are all on the same journey of giving their lives to the Lord in priesthood is an experience that I will not soon forget. There is a brotherhood between us that means that although we fought against each other on the field, we were able to come together afterwards in the Communion of the Mass and then over dinner, limping in with cramped and aching legs, but already keen for the next tournament. Next year in Brisbane, I am planning to leave with the cup safely in Corpus Christi hands but regardless of who wins, I know I will be leaving with a boost of brotherhood and safe in the knowledge that the Church is not dying and that I am not alone.
Official Tournament photographer: Peter Casamento, https://www.casamentophotography.com.au