With the opening ceremonies just days away, it got me thinking about what it would be like to be an Olympian. I thought about how awesome of an experience it would be to compete in front of millions of people, representing our country, playing for a medal, inspiring people to come together and for a moment have the world waiting and watching for what might happen next.
However, for most of us we probably will spend our lives being Olympic spectators but for Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker, he gets a shot to be on the world’s stage during the London Olympic Games.
Competing this year with his air rifle, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker told Catholic News Service in a phone interview from Fort Benning, Ga. “I'm a little bit more relaxed going into this. I know how to deal with some of the extra things the games bring now."
A Nebraska native, Parker grew up around sport shooting. His dad, Dale Parker, was a competitive shooter for much of his early life. At age 13, Jason Parker's parents bought him a competition air rifle, and he used it to climb the ranks in local and state competitions.
He said his real breakthrough came when he attended Jesuit-run Xavier University in Cincinnati. The university had "just a great atmosphere. It was exactly what I needed during my life," he said. Not only did Parker end up making his first international team in 1994 as a junior at Xavier, but he also met his wife, Andrea.
Parker is very skilled in the 10-meter air rifle competition and the 50-meter three-position competition which has led him to a successful career in the military. Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker won the Men's Three-Position Rifle match, to secure his fourth trip to the Olympics and will be competing on the US Men’s Shooting Team.
Parker, a Methodist, said his faith helps him tremendously: on the range, with his family, and in Afghanistan.
Let us pray this week for all the athletes participating in the Olympics and ask God to watch over them. Good luck to all the Olympians!
Speaking on Sunday at a Mass in Frascati near his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the 85-year-old Pope said going back to the work produced by the Council 50 years after it began in 1962 was essential to the New Evangelization. "Therefore, read it and read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and in this way rediscover the beauty of being Christians, of being Church and living the great ‘we' that Jesus formed around himself in order to evangelize the world."
|E. A. POE, friend of the
early Fordham Jesuits