In the Catholic faith, the first day of November isn't an ordinary day. It is the Feast of All Saints—a day to honor the "saints, known and unknown who are now with God in heaven." On Halloween—"All Hallow's Eve"—I prepared my students for All Hallow's Day by teaching the religious roots of this informal triduum, which concludes with All Souls' Day on November 2. I asked them to pray for the souls in purgatory and in thanksgiving for the holy men and women in our own lives who are saints. I added that All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation. Aware of the formality of the term "obligation," I put all of it in the context of Sports and Spirituality.
|A true cathedral in MLB, flags flew at half mast to honor #44|
- Holiday = Old English for Holy Day
- Obligation: Athletes are quite familiar with obligations.
- What are some of the obligations of your sport? Your team?
- What are the obligations of your faith tradition?
The school where I work is such a large community that I can go without seeing my colleagues and former students for weeks at a time. Consequently, I don't take for granted the times I do see coworkers who I also value as friends. I sat next to one of them at today's Mass. After the final blessing, I shared with this lifelong Giants fan my sadness at the passing of Willie McCovey. He responded by telling me that he wanted to go McCovey Cove to place flowers at the statue. We shared a few stories we knew about "Stretch" and we parted ways.
The local Sports Talk Radio show commented on the fact that Willie Mac died on Halloween—a day characterized by the colors orange and black—the same colors as the San Francisco Giants. I would like to add that the communal honoring of his number, his name and his legacy began on the Feast of All Saints. I have a strong suspicion that Willie McCovey, a man from Mobile Alabama—a place that claims to have the original Mardi Gras—has heard "When the Saints Go Marching In" loud and clear tonight.
We love you Willie McCovey. Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with us in a beautiful game. I am so proud to be a fan to a team that honors the type of athlete you were and chose to be. The Willie Mac Award goes to the player who demonstrates quiet leadership but it's also for us, the fans. We need your example and inspiration; it will not be forgotten.May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him Lord and May He Rest in Peace. Amen.
Photo credits: no need for any, I took all of them today 11/1/18