December 12, 2014

Tinder’s longtime commitment to CYO leads to 2014 National Catholic Youth Ministry Award

By John Shaughnessy

Ed TinderDuring his 30 years as the executive director of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) in the archdiocese, Ed Tinder has never been at a loss for words when he has presented an award to an outstanding coach who has made a difference in the lives of children.

Yet when Tinder was recently asked about his reaction to being chosen as a recipient of the 2014 National Catholic Youth Ministry Award, his words came hesitantly.

“I’m not an award guy,” he said finally. “I told my wife because I had to go to San Antonio for the award, but I don’t think I even told my children about it.”

Tinder was presented with the prestigious honor on Dec. 6 during the closing ceremony of the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry in San Antonio, Texas.

In announcing the honor for Tinder, a press release from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry stated, “During Tinder’s 44 years of service in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, he has become widely recognized by youth and adults alike as a person who works diligently to keep Catholic Youth Organization programs and philosophies uniquely Catholic.

“Tinder constantly strives to enforce the idea that CYO coaches are youth ministers while challenging them to teach and model Gospel values for their players.”

When the conversation turned to that approach to youth sports, Tinder’s words flowed easily again.

“I’m more appreciative of the opportunity I’ve had in the past 34 years,” noted Tinder, who joined the archdiocese’s CYO staff in 1980, and became its executive director in 1984. “As a staff, we’re a big part of the interaction that families have with the Catholic Church. You think of the lives we’ve touched in keeping what we do in our programs connected with the teachings of the Catholic Church. We’ve really taken that responsibility seriously.”

Tinder’s appreciation kept flowing, extending to all the people who are involved in the CYO’s mission, including nearly 4,000 men and women who serve as volunteer coaches for CYO teams.

“I’ve gotten to rub elbows with some of the best people in the Catholic Church—clergy and lay people,” he says. “I’ve really been fortunate to be involved in this effort through the years.”

Tinder says that his approach to sports has evolved since his time at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, where he was a teacher and a coach of football, basketball, baseball and golf during the 1970s.

He still loves sports and appreciates the value that competition provides in terms of making individuals and teams prepare, focus and give everything they have during a game. Yet he also sees the greater need to put the emphasis on developing a child as a person rather than just as a player—especially in the context of the Catholic faith.

“Connecting all of our programs to Catholic values and Gospel messages is the most important thing we do.” †

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