By Julie Anne Loong, For the North Star
Having ran from Micro Beach to Pacific Islands Club and back, Bishop Ryan Jimenez, along with three diocesan staff members, completed a whopping 21.8 kilometer (13.1 miles) run within 3 hours– an accomplishment that may be difficult for others to achieve.
Last Saturday, March 9, 2019, they had participated in the 2019 Saipan Marathon Half Marathon Race, one out of the three racing events offered.
But there was something greater and more meaningful that the four completed than running for 13 miles that morning.
The team wore navy blue shirts, a color associated with speaking the truth and having strong spirituality and faith. The back of their uniforms read, “PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN,” in all caps lock. The four had participated for a cause, not for a medal.
Bishop Ryan, who has joined in on a fair share of marathons throughout his life, shared his thoughts on the inspiring occasion.
“As we started from here to PIC, passing some of the island’s churches along the route, we prayed for the victims of child abuse. When we passed the cathedral, we prayed in a special way that all our diocesan efforts on what we, the priests, the staff, the sisters, and the volunteers can proactively do to protect God’s children. For example, we’ve done seminars, online certification, and other things so that when we do our public ministry, we ensure the safety of the children. This is something new we’re doing so we thought this was a great start. We wish to continue the program and what better way to do it than to offer this difficult physical activity and transform it into a spiritual activity.
“When i was ordained bishop two years ago, one of the guiding principles I chose to follow was the Ignatian Spirituality of finding God in all things– that how even in running, we can see the beauty of God’s creation: how Saipan is beautiful, we were surrounded by the company of friends, and how we met many friends and acquaintances along the way. This marathon is just like life. We journey with others and most of all, God is with us. We need to know that in this physical and spiritual exercise, God is here. Being here today was both fun and purposeful.”
He described the marathon as a metaphor for life. Sometimes life can be challenging, but we should never give up.
“We tried to maintain a certain pace so that we could start and finish together. Despite our levels of athleticism being different, we tried our best. For one of us in the team, this was their first time running a half marathon, but we weren’t here to set personal best time records or anything like that. We are here for the sake of promoting the message of Protecting God’s Children,” said Glorybel Tan, a diocesan staff and team member.
Glorybel Tan, Bishop Ryan, Sherwin Pasillos, and Rommel Buenaflor, our diocesan team finished the marathon after tireless efforts, managing to encourage a healthy lifestyle and successfully advocate a safe environment within our churches to the general public.
The Diocese of Chalan Kanoa strictly follows the Child Protection Policy under the guidance of our Bishop. If you are interested in learning more information about the decree, you can find the full document on rcdck.org. Everyone is urged to continue to pray for all victims and for this cause, for the protection and guidance of all children.