Dennis Guida
Dennis Guida
A lifelong Catholic educator with decades of coaching experience will now coordinate an organization for male and female athletes which professes that faith and sports go hand in hand.

Dennis Guida, retired president/principal of Holy Cross Preparatory Academy, Delran, has been named the diocesan coordinator of Catholic Athletes for Christ as of Aug. 1. Guida succeeds longtime volunteer CAC moderator, John McKenna, who died on June 21.

“CAC offers athletes the chance to strengthen their faith and devotion to Christ,” observed Guida. “They are leaders in the school; this can give them an outlet.

An estimated 2,000 student athletes in the Diocese belong to CAC chapters in Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville; Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy, Hamilton; Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft; St. Rose High School, Belmar; Trinity Hall, Tinton Falls; St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel; Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank, and Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River. Both Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, Princeton, and Mater Dei Prep, Middletown, have expressed interest in forming chapters.

“I was in on this on the ground floor when it was first brought up by the Bishop in 2008,” Guida continued, recalling the program’s inception in the Diocese of Trenton as the nation’s first high school level chapter.

The CAC aims to serve Catholic athletes by sharing the Gospel of Christ in and through athletics while exemplifying the core virtues of charity, honesty, humility, meekness, moderation, purity and sportsmanship. Launched on the college level in 2006, the national organization’s website explains their goal is “to provide an integrated network of sports-oriented clergy and lay people to serve Catholic athletes, coaches and staff in the practice of their faith [while] utilizing the unique platform given to them to reach the world for Jesus Christ.”

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., serves on the national organization’s episcopal board, and recognized the need for such a faith-based program in the schools of the Trenton Diocese. In conjunction with CAC president and founder Ray McKenna, he formed the first high school chapter in the nation in 2008.

Guida holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Scranton, Scranton, Pa., with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education with a social studies certification from Marygrove College, Detroit, Mich. He spent 40 years in various roles at Holy Cross Preparatory Academy (formerly Holy Cross High School), before becoming president/principal. He coached multiple sports in the Diocese of Camden for 27 years. After retiring from Holy Cross in 2018, he served as a consultant for the Trenton Catholic schools.

Guida and his wife, Eileen, have been married for 43 years, and have four children and two grandchildren.

His goals for the diocesan Catholic Athletes for Christ include forming a chapter in those schools which do not yet have one, continuing the chapters’ frequent meetings and service projects and strengthening CAC’s connection to the lives of the Catholic student athletes in the Diocese.

“On the front burner is to repeat the ‘Father and Son Retreat’ in January, and perhaps having a similar program for mothers and daughters,” Guida added.

Schools without a CAC chapter can contact their member school through their athletic director or campus ministry for more information on starting a chapter.