LINCOLN (SNR) - When Bishop James D. Conley arrived in Lincoln last November, he casually noted to members of the media that he’d run five marathons already, adding, "There still may be a couple more left in me."
Sunday, May 5, will be his sixth: the bishop will run the Lincoln Marathon, and this time, he’s running for vocations.
Bishop Conley participated in a relay-style "Run 4 Vocations" at the Denver marathon in October 2012. He teamed up with three other priests, dividing the marathon into four legs, each under 10 miles. But for the Lincoln Marathon, the bishop will be running the full 26.2 miles himself.
Of course, he’ll have a handful of other Catholic marathoners running beside him – avid runners who had already signed up for the Lincoln Marathon and are now choosing to run with the bishop.
Plus, there will be many more cheering them on from the sidelines along the route. But the most important team of all are those who are committed to praying for vocations for 26.2 minutes each while Bishop Conley is running the marathon.
Spirit Catholic Radio is one of the sponsors for the event. The other sponsors include the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Lincoln, the diocesan Office for Vocations, Serra Club (a lay group that supports priestly vocations) and Gloria Deo, a locally owned Catholic bookstore.
"This is an exciting event," said Ryan Broker, development director for the Lincoln office of Spirit Catholic Radio. "The bishop asked for our assistance and partnership in this, and there’s no way we would refuse."
The radio station created a page on their web site where people can pledge their 26.2 minutes of prayer. In return, those who sign up received a free guide for praying for vocations. The first 200 who signed up also received a t-shirt from the Catholic Foundation, supporting the bishop’s run for vocations.
Also, the station’s Bluebird Mobile Studio will be parked along the marathon route on Mile 4, which happens to include the Chancery parking lot at 3400 Sheridan Blvd.
"It will serve as the main meeting place and location for those individuals wishing for a good spot to cheer on the bishop and pray for vocations," Mr. Broker said.
Other cheering sites will be hosted at 10th and South (Mile 11); Antelope Park (Miles 16-17 and 23 on the return); the turnaround point at Holmes Lake (Miles 19-20); and the finish outside Memorial Stadium.
"I expect a good crowd of ‘pray-ers’ will be on the route to cheer on the bishop and the other runners," Mr. Broker predicted.
He added, "There are few things, if any, more important than praying for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life."
The Bishop will also be celebrating a pre-race Runner’s Mass for runners signed up for the full and half marathons plus their families and other supporters. The Mass will be celebrated at the Blessed John XXIII Diocesan Center chapel, 3700 Sheridan Blvd., at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 4.
To pledge your 26.2 minutes of prayer support for vocations during the Lincoln Marathon, or to sign up to run with Bishop Conley (if you are already registered for the marathon) visit spiritcatholicradio.com.