Catholic priest reaches out through sport and faith

Catholic priest

A Catholic priest based in Tasmania, Australia, exemplifies how sport can be a powerful tool for evangelisation in contemporary society.

Fr Leo Zenarosa, Administrator of the Bridgewater-Brighton Parish, dedicates his mornings to prayer and exercise. He often rises at 5am and runs for up to two hours.

During these runs he finds solace in prayer, invoking the intercession of Our Lady, St Paul and St Therese of Lisieux.

For Zenarosa, sport is about personal fitness and connecting with the local community. He sees it as his calling to inspire others, stating “I believe that sport is my calling to inspire people”.

“I meet a lot of people while I’m running. I literally run in Bridgewater so that they will know me… They become my friends and I believe it’s because of the prayer that I offer as I do my exercise.”

Zenarosa recently participated in the challenging Ironman 70.3 Tasmania race – with the Archbishop’s blessing. The event comprises swimming, cycling and running segments.

Despite the physical and mental challenges, he persevered, buoyed by his faith. “If I had no faith in God, I would have stopped in the middle of the sea” he confessed. “You’ve got to put in your mind that ‘I can do this’.”

Leading others to Christ

Beyond personal achievement, Zenarosa sees his participation in such events as an opportunity for spiritual offering. He dedicates his efforts to those suffering, particularly in his parish, aiming to inspire hope and resilience.

Zenarosa has even attracted individuals to attend Mass through his training routines and participation in sporting events. “I met lots of friends and some of them are attending my Mass at 12 noon, the young ones especially because they love competition, running.”

Zenarosa’s love for sport and unwavering faith find resonance in the words of St Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

For Zenarosa, this sentiment encapsulates his life’s mission – to persevere in faith and lead others to Christ.


Archdiocese of Hobart

CathNews New Zealand

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