The Archdiocese of Indianapolis and parishes sponsor sports programs for Catholic youth as one part of a comprehensive ministry to youth in the Church. The sports programs are often called Catholic Youth Organization or CYO. The sports programs are jointly administrated by the parishes and the CYO Office. The CYO sports programs exist in the Archdiocese only to help young people practice and live Gospel values through athletic experiences.
As with all ministries to youth in the Catholic Church, the goals of the CYO program are listed on “Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry”. This document first written as A Vision of Youth Ministry in 1976 by the Department of Education. The United States Catholic Conference issued a new vision for ministry with young people that blended the best of all past efforts with emerging ideas from Catholic leaders across the country. Simply put in the vision papers, “Youth Ministry is the response of the Christian community to the needs of young people, and the sharing of the unique gifts of youth with the larger community”.
Essentially in CYO sports, the purpose is to foster the total personal and spiritual development of the young person. CYO sports are for all youth in the Catholic Church, and reflect the diversity of the community, including these with all levels of gifts and abilities.
In CYO sports, Christian values such as fair play, sportsmanship, honesty, respect, loyalty, patience, tolerance, gratitude and humility must be taught in words and actions.
The ultimate responsibility for the success of CYO sports rests with the administrators and coaches at each parish. The adults selected to provide witness to the young people through the ministry of CYO sports must know that the program exists to foster the Christian growth of young people, only. These individuals must be held to accountable by the parish community to always model Catholic values and virtues.
CYO sports can be a rewarding ministry to young people, and help them to reach their God-given potential. CYO sports plays a vital role in total youth ministry for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, allowing youth to become responsible members of their faith community.