Professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts are the mainstay of most marathons. But these days you might even spot your local parish priest among the crowd. Source: The Catholic Weekly.
At least that’s what parishioners of St Joseph’s Kingswood in Sydney can say of Fr Pawel Barszczewski OP, who recently travelled to the US to run the New York City Marathon on November 5.
“It was so loud, that at some point I thought I should’ve taken ear plugs!” Fr Barszczewski, also a chaplain at ACU’s Blacktown campus, said.
A Polish Dominican who arrived in Australia 10 years ago at the invitation of Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, then the bishop of Parramatta, Fr Barszczewski is no amateur when it comes to long-distance running.
His first venture was a running pilgrimage to the Jasna Góra Marian shrine in Częstochowa, Poland, which went less-than-smoothly.
“After three days I was so sick and I said to myself, ‘Never, never [again],” he said.
Yet more than 25 marathons later, Fr Barszczewski found himself in the Big Apple, running one of the world’s biggest marathons, with an even bigger ambition to run the good race like his namesake, St Paul.
Despite a pre-existing injury, Fr Barszczewski crossed the finish line in a time of five hours and 13 minutes.
Aside from the satisfaction of completing his run through New York’s concrete jungle, he came away with some spiritual lessons too.
“It’s a good lesson in humility, especially this time because I knew I was not able to give the best of myself,” Fr Pawel said.
Fr Pawel Barszczewski OP learns spiritual lessons from New York Marathon (By George Al-Akiki, The Catholic Weekly)