Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pitching for Priests

There have been posters and advertisements for an event called Pitching for Priests all around the Catholic world. They were $10 a ticket so I was pretty sure that I was not going to make it. I couldn’t dump $100 on an event plus I frequently make the excuse that I already do enough “Catholic”stuff. I can’t do EVERYTHING.

Then one day, I was mingling in the back of church when our family’s adopted grandma, Grandma Marie, asks, “How many tickets do you want for Pitching for Priests?” She didn’t ask if we wanted to go. She asked how many tickets I wanted.

“Uh…..um. Well?.....” I didn’t want to give her my ungodly high number.

“How about I give you 7 tickets.”

Yay! I bummed Roy for 20 bucks for 2 more tickets and we were set!

For the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to figure out how I can get a group of Catholic young adults (18-25) to come together on a regular basis to play, learn about why they are Catholic, eat and play some more.

Light Bulb!  Why not invite everyone to tailgate at the Pitching for Priests game for a meet and greet?

Little by little, the invitations were getting out of hand. I invited about 250 families from my homeschool loop to stop by with their young adult child. Nick inadvertently invited EVERY Catholic he knew. And then my priest announces that our family will be tailgating before the game. Roy and I looked at each other in shock. We envisioned hundreds of hungry and thirsty people hovering over us with no real plan to meet or greet anyone.

We bought 54 burgers and 80 hot dogs. Roy spent a couple hours packing up the truck on Sunday with the grill, chairs, tables, etc. I spent hours filling up our van and car with food, drinks and all the necessities – paper towels, cups, plates.

We took 3 vehicles and headed off to T-Bones stadium.

What a night. Yes, we have flocks of people – including one homeless man….maybe a woman…..it was hard to tell – that visited our party. The young adults played Frisbee, talked, laughed, ate and never noticed the older crowd from my circle of friends and church family sitting nearby.

After my darling husband packed up EVERYthing, we headed in the stadium to watch the game.

The game was between the priests on the Kansas City/St. Joseph Missouri diocese verses the priests on the Kansas City, Kansas diocese. Undoubtedly, the entire stadium of 2,500 people were all Catholics. Instead of the typical music heard at a baseball game, we heard Ave Maria. When a Monsignor was up to bat, the crowd would clap and chant Mon-SEEN-YER! Mon-SEEN-YER! There were Catholic banners and t-shirts everywhere. The atmosphere was so warm and full of those fuzzy feelings we get when we are with a mass group of people we love. We all had something so dear in common. We were all Catholic. We all loved our Mother and we loved our Eucharist.

The priests came up to bat one by one. I knew most of them which added to the fun.  Each batter, each hit, each out, each strike, walk, run, base hit – every moment was exciting. I think what put all of us in a state of awe was the fact that all of these young and professional looking men were priests AND normal. They played GOOD! Who would have thought that you could bring 20 priests together and actually see a good and intense and enjoyable game?

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