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'Crusaders' football team at St. Joseph Academy in San Marcos, CaliforniaSportsLeaderUSA/YouTube/Screenshot

SAN MARCOS, California (LifeSiteNews) — A southern California Catholic high school football team has gone viral for its decision to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary by singing “Ave Maria” together after every game.

In a video posted to social media on September 12, the high school football team at the classical, traditional Catholic St. Joseph Academy in San Marcos, California, sang the “Hail Mary” in Latin together after a game.

Team captains said they intend to make this a tradition after every game to “glorify God” in all they do.

The football team, called the Crusaders, recently began a partnership with an organization called Virtue=Strength, which describes itself as a “Catholic program that engages the hearts and minds of your students,” helping them to “Learn the Virtues. Love our Lord. Live the Faith.”

In an article profiling the team’s decision to join in prayer to the Blessed Virgin, Virtue=Strength said St. Joseph Academy “has an amazing Catholic Identity and has created an atmosphere where the students truly become Catholic leaders who love our Lord, our Blessed Mother, the Mass and our Catholic Faith.”

The idea to sing the Ave Maria came from one of the players, Paolo, who floated the new tradition as a way to “consecrate all our actions back to God,” according to team captain Isaac in a separate video.

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Virtue= Strength said Paolo “brought the idea to his Athletic Director and Assistant Football Coach, John Murray and John encouraged him to share the idea with the captains.”

The Crusaders now sing the “Ave Maria” together after every game.

“It’s been really inspiring,” said another team captain, Andrew. “We hope to make it a tradition after every game. Obviously, as being proud Catholics and going to this amazing school we want to do things that are special to our faith and to our Mother Mary because that’s an important aspect of our lives.”

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Isaac noted that the Crusaders purchased new football jerseys last year with the acronym AMDG on the back to signify the Latin phrase “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,” or “for the greater glory of God,” something he said the students at St. Joseph Academy also write at the top of all of their papers for school.

“That’s why we play football. We want to glorify God on the field through our actions and being a really good football team,” the team captain said.

“A little bit about the culture of our school, we have all these sports programs, and through these sports programs we strive to reach a higher level of virtue,” Andrew explained. 

“Especially us playing on the football team, it’s so important to us to be true to our Catholic identity and grounded in the faith in everything that we do.”

He said that focus as a football player has helped to make the team “great young men playing under great coaches and the great staff of the school.”

Isaac added that St. Joseph Academy offers daily Mass and provides a chapel for Eucharistic adoration. He said he has seen his head coach in the adoration chapel “a ton of times, so we know he’s committed to his faith.”

The football captain said his coach’s faith “it’s inspiring to see, because he’s not soft. We’re a tough football team. We’re very disciplined. And it’s really hard. Football’s a very challenging sport. And I think that’s part of the reason there’s been so much grace for us this season, every season, because we’re all in it together but we’re also bonded primarily by our faith.”

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Isaac said that bond has helped make “everyone on the team a better Catholic.”

Andrew encouraged others to “develop their own traditions on their team.”

In conclusion, both boys said that young men and women must strive to glorify God and “be the light of the world.”