Went on our annual parish field trip to Safeco Field to watch the Mariners. Any parishioner who wants to go pays a modest fee for the bus ride and ticket. We leave from the church parking lot and make our way to the 300 level of the stadium. An eclectic group of "here comes everybody!"
With my husband on my left chatting to our son next to him, I turned to the man, David, on my right. He has a disability - a stroke perhaps, a head injury, maybe - leaving him struggling to talk. But he delights in these parish adventures. He always arrives alone and joins the group.
As the players threw the ball, swung their bats and trotted around the field, David and I chatted. I asked if his bag of peanuts was actually his dinner, “Yes, would you like some?” I declined. It took him the entire nine innings to crack open the peanuts and eat them all. Later I regretted not asking him if he wanted a beverage when my husband went for our food.
As we watched the game, David looked around our group of 45+ parishioners and said simply, “It’s good to be Catholic!” I gave him a quizzical look and he said again, “Look around! It is good to be Catholic!”
I doubt he was referring to any theological construct or doctrine of the trinity. He was glad to be at the game. He was glad to be part of a community that claims it loves one another as Jesus loved. I admit we don’t always get it right.
But when the church doors open wide enough for everyone to come in, when we welcome the stranger, the one who is different, we are getting closer to living the mandate we were given. And then, David is right: “It is good to be Catholic!” at a ball game, huddled together, sharing friendship.
(S-R archive photo: Safeco Field)