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What if you could improve your health while deepening your spiritual life? In Running for a Higher Purpose, Most Rev. Thomas John Paprocki, bishop of Springfield—and marathon runner and hockey player—shares how running unlocks not only physical benefits but also profound spiritual wellbeing.
Paprocki took up running as a teenager for his health; he ran his first marathon in his forties. Along the way, he discovered that improving your physical health through running is a way to honor God and grow deeper in your spiritual life.
Perfect for those who want to try running for the first time as well as for more experienced runners who want to set goals for a new challenge, Running for a Higher Purpose offers eight steps to reach spiritual and physical fitness.
1. Review – Review where you are.
2. Reform – Identify how to improve.
3. Resolve – Resolve to put change into effect.
4. Repeat – Don’t quit.
5. Renew – Renew your physical and spiritual wellness.
6. Relax – Balance physical and spiritual exercise with the need to rest.
7. Reward – Feel personal satisfaction and reward by achieving your goals.
8. Rejoice – Integrating a sound mind in a sound body leads to eternal happiness.
Each chapter includes an inspirational quotation, a personal promise statement, and a prayer.
A Note From the Publisher
“Jesus Christ gave us a great bucket list to complete: the Beatitudes. Bishop Paprocki’s book Running for a Higher Purpose is an excellent and worthwhile read. It includes the ‘Beatitudes of Running.’ The world is a better place because of this book. It will help us get to heaven.”
Chicago Bears Football Club
“This wonderful book is filled with practical running guidance, nutritional advice, and—most importantly—faith exercise. Bishop Paprocki shows how running can improve our trust in Christ. Running for a Higher Purpose sets the stage for maximum spiritual growth which then fuels physical well-being. This book inspires us to ‘make something beautiful for God’ as we run forward in faith. High five for Bishop Paprocki’s bold witness with fitness!”
“Running for a Higher Purpose spectacularly lays out the value of human activity not only for the body, but also for the soul. Having spent more than a dozen years working in the sphere of faith and athletics, I am grateful to Bishop Paprocki for writing such a clear and inspiring book on how we can and should connect the two. It is precisely the type of book that we need in the hands of every athlete, young and old.”
Founder and director of Varsity Catholic
Author of Compete Inside
“As a priest I have come to understand that we cannot find time to exercise; we have to make the time. It is a struggle to get going, but once you do, the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices. The health of our body affects our mental and spiritual strength, too. This, I know, is so much easier said than done, and this is why I am so excited about this book by Bishop Paprocki, who himself has made the time not only to look after his health but also to give us an understanding of the benefits of looking after our body, mind, and soul. In Running for a Higher Purpose, Bishop Paprocki gives us all a practical way to move forward.”
Fr. Rob Galea
Singer, songwriter, and author of Breakthrough
“In Running for a Higher Purpose, Bishop Paprocki provides an excellent integration of running tips and spiritual wisdom. He brings St. Paul’s running analogies to the modern day with remarkably practical tips and stories. Most importantly, this book helps all readers evaluate whether their fitness and spiritual trajectory is pointing toward the person of Jesus as their goal and purpose. I look forward to sharing this book with running friends—both new and experienced alike.”
Sr. Stephanie Baliga, F.E.
University of Illinois Cross Country (2006–2010)
Leader of Team Our Lady of Angels marathon team
“Running for a Higher Purpose reads like a close friend sharing a step-by-step path on how we can grow in holistic human wellness. Bishop Paprocki beautifully illuminates how experiencing God in our athletic endeavors simultaneously nurtures a healthy body and soul. As he points out, role models serve to encourage us to give our best in our life journey. Through his example of the daily discipline of running and praying, Bishop Paprocki has become my hero. I am inspired to lace up my running shoes and train to reach the ultimate finish line . . . eternal life.”
Kristin Komyatte Sheehan
Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series
“In all of my years in athletics, I never met a Christian who desired to separate their faith from their sport, and yet it was rare to see one who ever truly integrated them well. Bishop Paprocki gives us tools—based on personal experience in both realms—that will help us win the battle of assimilating our two great loves. His insights on the integration of sports and faith are relevant to athletes of every age and Christians in any sport.”
Fr. Chase Hilgenbrinck
Former professional soccer player
Vocation Director for the Diocese of Peoria
“Bishop Paprocki shares his personal running and spiritual journey in this exciting book. His unique experiences as a marathoner and faith leader help succinctly articulate the connection between physical and spiritual health. This is a great resource for runners looking for spiritual guidance and spiritual individuals looking to get into running.”
Director of Training
Chicago Area Runners Association
“Bishop Paprocki provides a wonderful introduction to the numerous commonalities between sports and spirituality. He masterfully combines practical running tips with spiritual practices for runners of all ages. I recommend this book to any runner who is interested in better integrating their athletic endeavors with their spiritual life.”
Religious studies teacher and head cross country and track and field coach
St. Francis High School
Mountain View, California