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Rosaries, prayers and hope abundant at Commonwealth Games multi-faith centre

Rwandan runner with Christian school students

Faith and sport: Rwandan athletes James Sugira and Salome Nyirarukundo race with students in the School Cross Country during the Rwandan Delegation Visit to Livingstone Christian College ahead of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on March 28, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images for GOLDOC

CATHOLIC athletes have displayed their rousing singing skills and a penchant for rosary beads as they tuned up for Commonwealth Games competition.

“I was sure they were going to lift the roof off with their singing,” volunteer Catholic chaplain Helen Day said, after a rousing Good Friday liturgy, held in the Gold Coast athletes’ village multi-faith centre.

Mrs Day said fellow Games chaplain Columban Father Warren Kinne asked athletes from Tonga and Cook Island to sing together – and “their voices were absolutely marvellous”.

“It’s all going so well,” she said.

As well as spontaneous singing, Mrs Day said rosary beads were proving a popular item amongst visitors to the multi-faith centre.

“Particularly among athletes from various African nations,” she said.

“They are wearing the rosaries as bracelets and also around their necks.”

After giving out dozens of rosary sets, Mrs Day called for help from local parishes.

“Some kind person delivered a hundred sets to my doorstep, and then the next day there was another bag full,” she said.

Mrs Day, a member of the Coolangatta-Tugun parish, is spending each day as a volunteer chaplain inside the Games village, offering pastoral care and support.

The village multi-faith centre provides athletes, coaches and support staff with a place of worship for 16 faith and religious organisations including the main religions – Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims.

Helen Day Commonwealth Games chaplain

Faith-filled: Volunteer chaplain Helen Day with the Commonwealth Games mascot, Borobi.

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