An album of Christian songs to celebrate the Olympic Games

An album of Christian songs to celebrate the Olympic Games

To punctuate this summer’s XXXIII Olympiad with inspired tunes, such is the objective of this very first CD of Christian songs about sport.

May the sound spirit of the Gospel/Come shape our efforts/A better world is our target/Brotherhood makes us strong,” proclaims a verse from the title Jesus Victor, Come Your Kingdom. Echoing this, the chorus of the song entitled Allez! Run, adds: “Fight the good fight, the fight of faith/Through the trials/the sorrows and the joys/I will always go higher. » This sample of words sets the tone for the eleven tracks on the CD People of Champions who exalt the values ​​common to sport and the Gospel: universality, surpassing oneself, peace, solidarity, fraternity, fair play…

At the origin of the project, Father Pascal Girard, 54, a former judoka, who also practiced high-level bodybuilding before being ordained a priest. Today, he is responsible for the pastoral sports team of the diocese of Clermont (Puy-de-Dôme) and a member of the Church and Sport working group of the Conference of Bishops of France. His credo: “Sport is a place where the Good News of Christ can be announced. » With in mind the appeal launched in 1989 by John Paul II to the Italian bishops enjoining them to “plan a special apostolate adapted to the needs of athletes”, Father Girard found the opportunity to make his contribution. when the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games are awarded to Paris. Although there were prayers dedicated to sporting events, to his knowledge there was no hymn dedicated to this type of event. From October 2021, he opened up to a couple of musicians from his parishioners. This is the start of the adventure. Mathilde and Paul Mazerol contacted different Christian singers: “We didn’t know most of them personally. But they all accepted with enthusiasm,” they recall.

For religious athletes

A wonderful team of artists inspired by the Scriptures then took up their pens to compose music and texts. Marie-Louise Valentin, Patrick Richard, Laurent Grzybowski, Danielle Sciaky, Hubert Bourel, Georges Goudet, Brigitte and Jean-Paul Artaud, Mathilde and Paul Mazerol, as well as Sister Marie-Liesse, of the community of the Beatitudes, and the now famous sister singer Agathe, of the Apostolic Benedictine Fraternity. A crowdfunding campaign on the Internet makes it possible to raise the funds necessary for recording in a studio. Result: since February 7 – 170 days before the opening of the Olympics -, the album has been in stores. “It will be a support for believing athletes who wish to reflect before the events,” says Father Pascal Girard. It will also help pastoral actors in their proposals for prayer times during competitions, for both athletes and the public. » To this end, a booklet of scores containing all the titles will be made available to associations and volunteers participating in the Holy Games program, launched by the Catholic Church of France in order to spiritually accompany this Olympiad. After the Olympics, it will remain a great tool for the activities of parish patrons and those of the Educational Sports Federation of Catholic Education. In the meantime, everyone can prepare by singing the catchy chorus “Hosanna, hosanna/Let’s open our eyes wide/Let’s win this issue/With an Olympic faith/Open and peaceful” from the song Let’s become champions . A way accessible to all to participate since, as everyone knows, that is the important thing.

A well-born motto

It is to a French Dominican, Father Henri Didon (1840-1900), that we owe the Olympic motto. In March 1891, headmaster of the Albert-le-Grand college in Arcueil (Val-de-Marne), near Paris, he sought to encourage his students to make an effort and give them a taste for victory. He then had three Latin words embroidered on the pennant that his establishment displayed during school competitions.

Citius, Altius, Fortius… which will become “Faster, higher, stronger”, a formula chosen by Pierre de Coubertin as the motto for the Olympic Games of the modern era. As a thank you, Father Dido had the distinct honor of celebrating the very first mass, organized in Athens in 1896.

Expressions under high protection

“Olympic Games”, “Olympic Flame” or “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together” (Olympic motto), the intellectual property of these expressions belongs to the International Olympic Committee. This prohibits their use in intellectual works with commercial purposes such as songs. The authors of the album People of champions had to ensure that their texts did not fall foul of the law – one of the only difficulties they encountered. This did not prevent the writing of beautiful praises that celebrate the Holy Spirit and healthy bodies.

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