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Fr Leo Zenarosa (Hobart Archdiocese/Sportograf)

For Hobart priest Fr Leo Zenarosa, sport is the perfect way to evangelise in modern Australian society. Source: Hobart Archdiocese.

Despite the busy schedule that comes with being administrator of the Bridgewater-Brighton Parish, about 20 km north of Hobart, Fr Leo rises most mornings at 5am, spends time in prayer and then goes out running for one or two hours before returning to parish duties.

He always prays while he is running, especially to his favourites – Our Lady, St Paul, and St Therese of Lisieux. It is also a great way for him to connect with the local community.

“I believe that sport is my calling to inspire people,” he said. “I meet a lot of people while I’m running. I literally run in Bridgewater so that they will know me.

“I love them. They become my friends and I believe it’s because of the prayer that I offer as I do my exercise.”

With the blessing of Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous, Fr Leo recently competed in the Ironman 70.3 Tasmania race which consisted of 1.9km of swimming, 90km of cycling and 21.1km of running around Hobart. This year’s event attracted more than 700 participants from around the world.

Fr Leo said he offers up the pain he endures in such events for those who are suffering. 

“I offer it especially for those in my area here in Bridgewater, for the sick, the dying, the depressed and lonely, hopeless.”

Fr Leo finished the race in seven hours and said it was the thought of those he was praying for and their suffering that got him over the finish line.

“Ultimately, I felt I had to face those whom I promised, ‘If I finish this, you can also face your problems’.”


Fr Leo fights the good fight and finishes the race (By Catherine Sheehan, Hobart Archdiocese)