A mitre in the marathon: meet the bishop who's also a runner

St. Paul famously compared his faith to a race.  Well, here’s a disciple who takes that idea to a whole new level.

From St. Louis Today:

Cross, ring, mitre, staff: symbols of the office that place Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Rice near the head of the Roman Catholic Church in St. Louis. Rice will put them away Sunday morning – of all times – in favor of a T-shirt, baggy shorts and running shoes, the garb he will don for the GO! St. Louis half-marathon.

His job demands that he serve as a spiritual guide for approximately 440,000 Catholics. But for about two hours Sunday, he’ll be content to be one of nearly 20,000 runners in the three races – marathon, half-marathon or marathon relay – that fill the streets of St. Louis as part of the GO! event. “There’s something nice about being lost in a sea of humanity,” he said. “There’s so much positive energy.”

Humanity and energy are among Rice’s defining qualities, as is running. He took up cross country in high school and has completed three marathons, the fastest in 3 hours, 23 minutes. But just as he won’t stick out from the crowd Sunday because of priestly garb, neither will he look the part of elite runner, clad in singlet and those tiny little shorts.

“No one wants to see that much of me,” he said.

Rice, 50, has become more visible since December, when Pope Benedict XVI named him auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, second in command of the archdiocese. He had already signed up for the GO! half-marathon – “to avoid the price increase,” he said, half mocking, half pleased with his frugality.

Despite the increased demands on his time, he remained committed to running six days a week, five to seven miles a day. If anything, the diligent training has proved a blessing with his new duties, which can range from assisting Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, running the vocations office, hearing midmorning confessions, throwing out the first pitch at the new ballfield at St. Mary’s High School, or celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation.

“It keeps you connected to the big picture,” he said. “You take a run and clear your head and everything falls into place. You’re bombarded with issues, issues, issues: so many things you can’t control. On a run, I realize that I’m going to do my part and put the rest in God’s hands.”

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6 responses to “A mitre in the marathon: meet the bishop who's also a runner”

  1. Now that’s what I like to read! A bishop that takes care of both soul AND body. Reminds me of learning about Bishop Sheen, and how he used to PT at least 30 minutes a day to keep himself healthy.

    I bet he takes his balanced life of taking care of both body and soul to his work as an Auxiliary!

  2. Awesome! This bishop inspires me and motivates me to keep up my own running! I am currently training for the 500 Festival Half Marathon in Indianapolis. We have a team that competes within it called the Race for Vocations Team… check out our website at http://www.archindy.org/vocations/race.html

    God bless you Bishop and your example to faith and the importance of taking care of ourselves…

    Father Joshua
    Zionsville, IN

  3. Thanks for this post, Greg!

    My current pastor is a runner. In fact, he ran fifty marathons before he turned 50! On any given day, I might hear a knock at my house door that opens into the garage, and there he is — all sweaty and in his running gear: “Gotta stop by for a water bottle” which he promptly raids out of my garage.

    No big deal!

  4. By theological definition, a bishop, by his consecration, is in a stat of perfection. His office imposes on him the ‘ tri munera” consisting in:
    a) teaching the doctrine.
    He is ‘doctor’ (from latin’ docere’), so his duty on Sunday (Dies Dominium) is to teach the faith as transmitted in the depositium Fidei (deposit of the faith) to his flock and to convert pagans, Jews, infidels and heretics to the only true Faith and bring them to the bosom of the Church – outside of which there is no salvation. With the lack of Catholic militancy today, you think that RICE is going to propose the faith to all those running in the marathon??
    b) Sanctifying by offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
    The main duty of the priest and bishop is to be mediator between God and men, i.e. inasmuch as he bestows divine things on the people, wherefore the word (sacerdos) means a giver of sacred things (Summa Theologica, question 22/article 1 c) A bishop is a shepherd installed on the ramparts of the city of the soul – so he has other things to do than jogging on a Sunday morning.
    c) Governing the faithfuls
    To govern is to foresee and make provisions for the future – it is a prophetic act – to announce and to denounce, to plant and to uproot, to built and to destroy..so RICE should be in the parishes of the diocese to see that proper catechism is dispenses to the flock; that the morality of the flock is in conformity with the morality of the faith; to see that the clergy is committed to its task of saving souls; and that the Catholic students on the university campuses are being prepared to be the Catholic elite of tomorrow, from whom will come vocations for religious life and leaders of society….

    NO wonder the Catholic Church is a laughing stock..and when men like RICE do not know or take the duties of their office seriously, the wolf attacks the flock…while the ‘mercenary’ runs a marathon….. Parce nobis Domine!

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