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Abstract

Participation in sport, particularly the opportunity for children to enjoy and learn through play, is a human right and strongly supported by the goals of Catholic social teaching and the efforts of the Olympic Movement and the United Nations. On October 5-6, 2016, the Vatican held the Sport at the Service of Humanity Conference, the first global conference on sport and faith, an initiative promoted by Pope Francis and supported by the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations. This essay focuses on the conference, its vision and goals, and a challenge to use sport to advance human development and flourishing. Further, the essay highlights the outstanding efforts of four individuals with a connection to athletics at the University of Notre Dame – Ruth Riley, Lindsay Brown, Bobby and Tommy Clark – who have demonstrated the power of sport to create initiatives supporting the vision of the Vatican’s Conference.

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