Bears owner McCaskey speaks at FUS

STEUBENVILLE – Monday night, Franciscan University of Steubenville played host to Chicago Bears owner Pat McCaskey in the Gentile Gallery at the J.C. Williams Center.

McCaskey, the grandson of Bears founder George Halas, is the chariman and founder of Sports Faith International, an organization which honors athletes who live their faith on and off the playing field. Franciscan’s ties to the organization made McCaskey a natural selection to speak there.

“Franciscan University is a sponsor of Sports Faith International; Chris Ledyard, the athletic director, has been at the Bears’ facility in Lake Forest, Ill.; and it was a natural thing to do for me,” said McCaskey.

Ledyard was excited to have McCaskey speak due to the work of Sports Faith International.

“He’s taken the time, he’s the co-owner of the Chicago Bears and he has made some choices about what he wants to do with his free time,” Ledyard said. “In that free time, one of those choices was to honor people who have gone out and been courageous Catholics. I thought that was someone I wanted to be associated with.

“That if you can do whatever you want to do with your life, in your free time, and you choose to honor courageous athletes around the world, I’m pretty impressed with that so it’s pretty good to have him here.”

McCaskey intertwined humor, and even some singing, to pass along his message to the crowd.

“I think it’s very important,” McCaskey said of wanting to speak to at the university about the importance of faith.

“I try to have mixture of serious comments, and humorous comments.

“I try to mix it up, but basically we’re here to get to heaven. That’s the most important part.”

Ledyard believes, for the university’s young sports program, having speakers like McCaskey is somethings of great importance.

“Today in mass the Rev. Bradley was saying success in life is recognizing God’s will in your life,” said Ledyard. “What I think this guy has done is he’s lived his life, and he has made an impact on the culture and the spirit of Christifideles Laici.

“When John Paul II wrote that Apostolic Exhortation he was telling us go out into the secular world and make an impact. So when you ask the question ‘how important is it we bring in people like this’, it’s essential.”

Steubenville natives Danny Abramowicz and Rich Donnelly are among those who have been honored by Sports Faith International.