Before entering the court to officiate at US Open 2017
Hello readers, welcome to this edition of sports profile. I will want to introduce a sports man, Rev. Fr. Paul Arinze and in the next edition we will discussed in details about his sports profile. I hope you get to enjoy this article which was culled from National Catholic Register. Rev. Fr. Paul Arinze was born in Ebenebe in Awka North LGA area. He is a Nigeria born priest of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. Since both of his parents were Catholics, he grew up not just attending Masses on Sundays, but also on weekdays. He attended Catholic High School while growing up which boosted his Catholic faith and belief. He got entangled with sports while growing up as a kid. In fact, he loved watching football (soccer) and tennis and picked more likeness for tennis. At fourth grade in school, he assisted his parents after they played tennis to pick the balls and the interest grew gradually.
He recently took part in the 2017 US Open between Aug 28- Sept 10 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, New York as a Tennis Umpire. He has reached a peak which is very rare for many referees. His style is very unique and widely known for his smooth running of star matches. In this edition, we will do a little x-ray of his sports life.
Let's briefly talk about his Sports life
Father Paul Arinze is the pastor of St. John Vianney parish in Janesville, Wisconsin. He is also a line and chair umpire who has officiated at every major tennis event around the world, plus several Olympic Games. Fr. Paul has umpired the U.S. Open since 2008. He is one of the review officials in charge of instant review during player challenges in the 2017 US Open.
Many who knew Fr. Paul's dexterity and fairness in officiating, love him so much. Some tennis players who found out Paul Arinze is a Catholic priest are often surprised, intrigued and inspired by his love for tennis
Fr. Paul has worked on all the biggest tennis events as a part-time official. He has worked the four grand slams, namely: Australian Open; French Open; The Championships, Wimbledon; and U.S. Open. In 2012, he officiated at the London 2012 Paralympics Games and the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games, as well as the World Tennis Association premier events and Association of Tennis Professionals Master 1000 events.
He took part in the Summer Olympics which raised his rank in his umpire career. This has made him to be part of the seven umpires representing the U.S. as part of the tennis umpiring team.
Being an Umpire makes him to travel to many places in the world, experiencing new cultures and making new friends. In spite of these, he is also being challenged by some other factors that place him at the center of action when he officiates.
Fr. Arinze so much loves tennis that he spares some of his free time in playing tennis with his brother priests, parishioners and friends.
Now let's talk a little about his faith and prayer life?
Fr. Arinze was focused on becoming a priest because he wanted to devote his life to the service of God and his people as an ordained priest.
“Thinking of my parish priest growing up, he was a very kind, holy and prayerful priest. He came into my classroom in grade school, visited our homes and truly knew all of the parishioners. Priesthood offers one the opportunity to reach people in a way that most other professions could not. Most importantly, you make the presence of Christ in the Eucharist available to people and are able to heal their souls through the sacraments”.
Fr. Paul Arinze was ordained in 1999 and was made a parochial vicar in a parish outside of Madison, Wisconsin. During his free time, he spared out time to go to watch the University of Madison Tennis Team. And gradually he became friends with Fred Jungers, who is a Catholic and also the head referee for the events. On a faithful day, Fred asked Fr. Arinze to help him out during the State High School Girl's Championship. Little did Fr. Arinze thought he would reach this peak. The High School Girl's Championship became the first umpire experience he had. Bet you me, Fr. Paul Arinze wouldn't forget this date. As his interest grew large, he decided to go on to attend a certification school, and the rest is history.
When National Catholic Register asked Fr Arinze his thoughts on religious faith as a support for players and teams, he said that many players were very religious and serious in their faith.
“They may not always show it, but you see some of them making gestures of prayers on court, and I have seen quite a few players at Masses”
Despite his peak in tennis world, Fr. Arinze is being inspired by so many people who have helped at various stages of his officiating career, and he admires them for their professionalism, experience and how they handle situations that come up in the course of officiating. Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, James Blake, Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf and Kim Clijsters are some of his favorite players, to name a few.
National Catholic Register also gathered that Fr. Arinze left Nigeria for America because his vocation was influenced by the Irish missionaries who worked in his home parish. They inspired him to work as a priest outside his birth country and after college; he decided to continue his priestly formation in the U.S.A.
My dear reader, this is just a glimpse of Rev. Fr. Arinze Paul's sports profile, keep in touch with the next edition to get the most thrilling parts and secrets of this great priest and well known world tennis umpire. Thank you.
You could check www.fidesnigeria.org for more editions of sports profile you missed.