Bishop Paprocki Explores Hyperlink Between Bodily and Religious Health in New Ebook| Nationwide Catholic Register


The practical steps that Bishop Paprocki sets out in the book begin with recommending an honest assessment of physical fitness and health.

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois does not generally introduce himself as a runner. His first love is hockey, which he still plays regularly at almost 70 years of age. He even trains the goalkeepers of a local Catholic high school.

“I still play hockey and I attribute that to my running,” Bishop Paprocki told CNA.

Bishop Paprocki was not a born runner. In fact, he hated it the first time he tried to “run”.

But he kept going and the reason was simple. Three of his grandparents died of heart disease in their fifties, and Bishop Paprocki realized that a similar fate might await him if he did not improve his health.

“I was reading about the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercise, running, cycling, or swimming and I thought, ‘If I want to be over 55, I better take some,’ so I started running,” he said.

In total, Bishop Paprocki has run and counted 24 marathons since that day. He has also raised over half a million dollars for charity.

Bishop Paprocki recently wrote a book entitled “Running for a Greater Purpose: 8 Steps to Mental and Physical Fitness” (Ave Maria Press) that was published March 26th.

In it, he offers expert advice on running from a practical standpoint and weaves together lessons on how to grow in the spiritual life.

“One of the main premises of the book is the connection between body and soul. Unlike the ancient Greek philosophers who viewed the body as something that was thrown away at death and that you would no longer need … we believe in the resurrection of the body that our body will be raised when our Lord returns at the second Sometimes we have to treat our bodies with respect, ”said Bishop Paprocki.

“The way I wrote this book was to keep that connection going. So it is not the case that one chapter deals with the spiritual life and the other chapter deals with training for running. They are intertwined because most runners, especially marathon runners, will tell you that in order to complete a marathon, you need some deep spiritual resources. “

The practical steps that Bishop Paprocki sets out in the book begin with recommending an honest assessment of physical fitness and health.

“Once you’ve figured out where you need to improve, you need to figure out what to do about it,” he said.

An honest assessment of sanity is not dissimilar, he said. A spiritual leader can help with this.

“It is a little more difficult to assess your mental fitness than your physical fitness. Your physical fitness, you have measurements of how much you weigh, what your blood pressure is, what your cholesterol is, things like that, but even for that we go to a doctor. We go for a physical and we have someone to check us out. Spiritual leaders can also be helpful here because it is a little more difficult to quantify, ”said Bishop Paprocki.

‘How holy am I?’ Well, only God in a sense knows how we grow in our holiness, but your spiritual director can help you make progress. “

As with physical fitness, different people will be in different places in their spiritual life and will measure their success differently.

“If you don’t pray regularly, just start with a morning offering or say grace before you eat. If you’re not used to saying the rosary, just start with a decade – 10 Ave Maria – and work your way up to say a full rosary, ”he suggested.

Spiritual health, like physical health, requires repeated effort and daily commitment, said Bishop Paprocki.

“You can’t even go to Mass and say, ‘Okay, I’m fine. I went to mass. ‘We have to go to mass every week, every Sunday. Confession too … we have to do that a lot, ”he remarked.