These priests share a love for fitness and exercise, and they've found a way to use that talent in God's service.
Gyms and Crossfit rooms have been becoming more and more popular in recent years, and their clientele is very diverse. Some priests have found in them an environment for self-care and evangelization.
Their perspective is that fitness and faith can go hand in hand. They see the gyms as places where they can strengthen their muscles and their spirit.
Accompanying the flock
Pope Francis dedicates part of his magisterium to “accompanying people” wherever they are. Some priests have seen that among weights and treadmills there’s room to bring people closer to God.
Perhaps some people might be tempted to think that gyms are only places of interest for a clientele that lives on superficiality and the cult of the body. But the clientele is very varied.
Many attend because of their love for sports and fitness, and others because of the recommendation of their doctor to overcome or recuperate from some ailment. Some even go to meet people in a healthy environment, and others as a way to release tension and stress.
Priests who frequent gyms maintain that this type of training can help on a pastoral level: Just as you gradually do more intense exercises in order to progress, you can do the same with the Christian life to grow spiritually.
They also see gyms as places from which they can learn. They see how “communities” are established, and how if someone is absent they are missed. They believe that the same thing should happen in parishes; when for whatever reason someone misses Mass, that absence should be noticed and felt, and the priest and congregation should give them the necessary support and accompaniment.
At 51 years of age, this priest has an imposing physique. Fr. Rafael Capo is a bodybuilder.
He began lifting weights in high school as a way to supplement his athletic training in his native Puerto Rico, according to a Catholic News Service article. There he found a path to God. He continued the practice throughout his transition from the seminary to the priesthood.