Leadership, Mission

Seton Hall student-athletes meet with Vatican Official to discuss faith and sport

South Orange, N.J. - Seton Hall student-athletes who participate in a Bible study group through Varsity Catholic were treated to a special meeting with Santiago Perez de Camino Gaisse, the head of the Church & Sport office at The Vatican. The meeting took place on Sept. 8 in Seton Hall’s Richie Regan Recreation & Athletic Center.

Gaisse traveled from Rome to Seton Hall to learn more about how Seton Hall student-athletes got involved with Varsity Catholic, how bible study helps enhance their faith, the types of activities and programming they participate in and how they have bonded with their missionaries.

Student-athletes in attendance for the special meeting with Gaisse were men’s soccer’s Corey and Spencer Burkhardt (Palmyra, Pa.) and Peyton Elder (Cary, N.C.), baseball’s Blake Espinal (Bronx, N.Y.) and Noah Thompson (Frisco, Texas), women’s cross country’s Kiley Britten (Crystal Lake, Ill.) and former volleyball athlete Brooke Flores. Varsity Catholic missionaries Garrett Bernardo and Meagan Gitchell, who serve as the leaders for the student-athlete bible study group, were also in attendance.

About Varsity Catholic In 2007, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) launched Varsity Catholic as a division of FOCUS to address the unique needs and challenges student-athletes face. For the 2017 – 2018 academic year, FOCUS has 158 trained Varsity Catholic missionaries on 97 campuses. Of those, 46 are full-time Varsity Catholic missionaries on 28 campuses. More than 1,200 student-athletes participated in Varsity Catholic Bible studies in the 2016 – 2017 academic year. FOCUS Varsity Catholic missionaries on campus were, at some point, athletes in college. In addition to one-on-one mentoring and Bible studies on campus, Varsity Catholic hosts mission camps to provide a unique opportunity to bring the faith together with sports to serve impoverished youth around the globe. These trips are designed for student-athletes who facilitate a sports camp while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. To learn more, visit www.varsitycatholic.org.

Photo Caption:Seton Hall student-athletes meet with Vatican Head of Church & Sport Santiago Perez de Camino Gaisse in Seton Hall’s Richie Regan Recreation & Athletic Center on FridaySept. 8. Top row from left to right: Corey Burkhardt, Peyton Elder, Noah Thompson, Santiago Perez de Camino Gaisse, Garrett Bernardo, Brooke Flores. Bottom row from left to right: Meagan Gitchell, Spencer Burkhardt, Kiley Britten.