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.”