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Catholic Priest To Compete In ‘American Ninja Warrior’ And Use It To Evangelize

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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A Catholic Priest has signed up to compete in “American Ninja Warrior” and intends to use the show as a stage for evangelization.

Father Stephen Gadberry applied to compete in the game show at the behest of fellow Catholic and two time contestant Sean Bryan, who earned the nickname, “Papal Ninja,” for competing while wearing a t-shirt displaying that moniker, according to Aleteia. Gadberry, who passed the preliminary round of to compete on the show shortly after applying, said his primary reason for taking the challenge is to evangelize.

“[Evangelizing] is the primary reason for me doing this. The Lord tells us to go out and make disciples of all nations,” Gadberry told Catholic News Agency. “As this platform has stumbled into my lap … I can further deliver the message of the Gospel that I am supposed to as a priest.”

Gadberry currently pastors two churches in Arkansas and is a U.S. Air Force veteran. The priest said he exercises for one-two hours a day and uses physical fitness as a way to connect spiritually with people who would otherwise never broach the topic of faith, like the convicts with whom he exercises in his prison ministry.

“It has given people opportunities … to start conversations on faith, where before they may have been too intimidated to approach a priest or go to church,” Gadberry told CNA.

The 10th season of “American Ninja Warrior” will air on NBC on May 30.

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