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BOSTON, Mass. – The Emmanuel College men's and women's Indoor Track & Field team as well as the Men's Volleyball team participated in a Team Blessing Wednesday afternoon in the Jean Yawkey Center Gymnasium at a blessing ceremony hosted by Emmanuel College’s Campus Ministry. Approximately 50 student-athletes and 20 Emmanuel College staff and faculty members were present for the third Team Blessing during the 2012-13 academic calendar year.

Led by Rev. John Spencer and his staff, the blessing called for each team to be welcomed forward by its captains before a member from Campus Ministry recited the following prayer while the remaining attendees held out their hands as a sign of their blessing:

Heavenly God, Holy Spirit, Saint Sebastian-Patron Saint of Athletes and Sports:

Be with our Emmanuel College athletes this fall season as they test their physical skills. Let them play well, but fairly. Let competition make them strong, but never hostile. Grant them the strength to best their opponent, and lead them to always help the opponent up. Grant them moments to rejoice but not in the adversity of others. Help them stay safe from injury, both physical and emotional. Help them set high standards of sportsmanship and personal excellence. Help them spread a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood throughout their sport. If they know victory, allow them to be happy. If they are denied, keep them from envy. If they set an example, let it be a good one.

Universal Spirit, bless these athletes and instill in them respect for each other and reward them for their commitment to Emmanuel College. Amen.

As each team came forward to receive the blessing, each member also received a medallion with Saint Sebastian engraved on one side and the following message on the other:

Saint Sebastian, patron Saint of Athletes and Sports, help me to do the best I can, aim high and always give it my best effort, and if I should fail give me the strength to try harder…

“We are very proud of our student-athletes and appreciate the collaboration with campus ministry,” said Pam Roecker, Director of Athletics. “The Blessing of the teams is a new initiative at Emmanuel and after seeing how much our fall programs in attendance appreciated the support, we are looking forward to continuing new tradition with all of our varsity teams.  It was a special day and I am very thankful of the effort campus ministry put into this thoughtful ceremony.”

The Indoor Track & Field squad will return to action this weekend when they travel to Southern Maine for a meet on Jan. 26 while the Men's Volleyball team kicks off their 2013 schedule on Sat. Feb. 2 in Rochester, N.Y. at Nazareth College in the Golden Flyer Invitational.