Our Lady and Sheen

All Stars

16 years and 2 days ago, I was with my dad driving to Pittsburgh from northern Virginia to go to Three Rivers Stadium to watch the 1994 Major League All-Star Game.  My aunt had managed to get us tickets, and when I say tickets, I mean first row staring at third base.  Ozzie Smith was playing shortstop, came over and ran near the stands, there were streamers shooting out of the stadium right in front of us. I got to see pretty much the 1990’s best baseball players: Ken Griffey, Jr., Frank Thomas, Kirby Puckett, Cal Ripkin, Jr., Joe Carter, Wade Boggs, Barry Bonds (just after he left the Pirates for the Giants, and before the steroid controversy), and Mike Piazza (who I had seen in the minor leagues with the Tidewater Tides, and I’m pretty sure was the coach at a catcher’s camp I went to a few years earlier).

In addition to all the All-Stars and MVPs of Pirate teams past, that day also celebrated the dedication of a statue to the great Roberto Clemente, with his surviving family on hand for the occasion.  Roberto Clemente was a great baseball player, a Marine, but also a Catholic.  For those of you who don’t know the story, Roberto Clemente was killed while accompanying a shipment of supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake.  While he did not necessarily suffer a “martyr’s” death in the sense of being murdered for his faith, he did serve as a witness to Christian charity by going to a land that was not his own in an effort to relieve the suffering of the native people.

Of course, I hold the man in high esteem, and I know that he had his flaws as every man does, but, would I be willing to give up fame and fortune for people I did not know?  Would you?

Although he will probably never be canonized a saint, Major League Baseball did pay him one of the highest honors they could have, by waiving a 5 year waiting period and inducting him on the first ballot into the Hall of Fame the year he died.  In that capacity, the story of Roberto Clemente’s charity, presumably and hopefully given to him as a grace by God, will inspire many young baseball players and fans to imitate Christ’s charity of the Cross.

(in the spirit of asking those who have gone before us to pray for us, knowing that if they are in heaven their prayers will be re-echoed, and if they are in purgatory, hoping that acts of prayer for us will assist them, I pray:)

Roberto Clemente, pray for us.

And also, May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace!

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July 14, 2010 - Posted by | Random Stuff | , , , , , , ,

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