Why is the Pope saying Mass at Nationals Park and Yankee Stadium this week? Surely in Washington and New York there are larger venues – RFK Stadium and the National Mall in DC, Giants Stadium and Central Park in New York. If it were size and numbers the Pope wanted, he could have chosen other venues.
But . . . but is there really anything more holy in the "secular" world than a baseball stadium, where men, women and children of all walks gather in a park to watch a game played, ritual music (national anthem, Take Me Out To The Ball Game) is sung, and miracles performed?
Some will say that Nationals Park and Yankee Stadium are now considered Holy Ground because the Pope said Mass there. But I suggest that the Pope decided to say Mass in these hallowed places because he recognizes that baseball stadiums are holy places in and of themselves.
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Things you may have (or have not) heard at today’s Mass at Nationals Park:
Over the public address system: Let’s go Cardinals! Let’s go Cardinals!
From a vendor with a large tray, descending the steps in the upper deck: Get your Body of Christ here! Holy Water! Rosaries!
From the Catholic crowd: Lutherans suck! Lutherans suck!
On the field: Larger-than-life mascots of John Paul II, John XXIII, Peter, and Jesus racing around the bases.
From the public address system, at the elevation of the host: Da da da da, da-da – CHARGE!
From a vendor at the gates as you enter the Mass: Get your scorecards! You can’t tell your clergy without a scorecard!
From the broadcast booth: You know, John, Benedict is batting 1.000 in daytime Masses this year.
From the crowd: The wave.