If They Won’t Become Priests Because they Love God and People, Maybe They Will Because they Love Sports…

It’s sad if you think about it.

Catholic priests Larry Swink and David Wells returned to Bowie on a recent Sunday, but it wasn’t to deliver a sermon at St. Pius X Church, where Swink served as a priest and Wells conducted his first Mass.  Instead, they took the field Sept. 4 at the Bowie Baysox Stadium — Wells at third base and Swink pitching — as players in the first D.C. Padres baseball game.Yes, why entice people to the priesthood with religion when baseball will do the trick…

“It allows kids and families to see priests in a fun setting doing everyday things,” said Mary Regan, a 30-year member of Sacred Heart Parish in Bowie.  “It makes them approachable,” said Regan, whose son, Kevin Regan, is a priest.  After six competitive innings, the priests won, 5-4, before a crowd of more than 600 enthusiastic fans, most of whom knew the players on both teams personally.  “That was the most fun I’ve had as a priest,” said Swink, 35, who conceived of the Padres as an offshoot of the D.C. ’Hood basketball team, on which he also plays. The team, which represents the Archdiocese of Washington, promotes the priestly vocation.

I’ve got nothing against baseball.  But why do Priests have to be seen ‘in a fun setting doing everyday things’?  Isn’t the Priest supposed to be different?

‘That was the most fun I’ve had as a priest’?  So Mass and preaching, teaching and visitation, sermon prep (do Catholics do sermon prep?) are unfun or less fun or less enjoyable than hitting a ball around?

Priests wanting to be ‘good time charlies’ may make them more acceptable to the world but does it make them acceptable to God?