Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Robert Mullen

3/4/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Major Leaguers credit CAC with spreading faith

Christianity is heavily present in American professional sports, at least the Protestant denominations are. Catholics, meanwhile, can often feel attacked or unwelcome by their fellow Christian-athletes.

Mike Sweeny played for Kansas City from 1995-2007.

Mike Sweeny played for Kansas City from 1995-2007.

Highlights

By Robert Mullen

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/4/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Sports

Keywords: Catholic athletes, MLB, sports, Sweeney, De Fatus


LOS ANGELES CA (Catholic Online) -- Ray McKenna founded Catholic Athletes for Christ in 2006 in response to the perceived lack of organizations dedicated to Catholic athletes.

Originally, this nonprofit organization was dedicated to serving Catholic athletes in the MLB. Then it branched into the NFL and other professional sports before including Olympic, college, and high-school athletes.

According to their website, CAC is designed to serve Catholic athletes in both their athletic and everyday lives, primarily by providing a network of Catholic athletes, coaches, and staff, and clergy and laypeople. They also strive to provide Catholic role models and reverse the moral crisis in sports today.

McKenna originally worked with Baseball Chapel, a Protestant organization similar to CAC that focused on baseball, where he first encountered anti-Catholic prejudice. McKenna stayed in spite of his issue with that organization because he felt it was worth the problems to spread the word of God to athletes.

Eventually he had to leave that organization after hearing a former Catholic MLB player criticize the church at a nondenominational ministry conference.

In an interview with the National Catholic Register, McKenna recalled that incident. "That was the most heartbreaking moment for me. I had heard negative things before then, but in that presentation, the Church's positions were so distorted that you couldn't even recognize what he was talking about. It was then that I really started to think in earnest about starting a distinctly Catholic organization in pro sports."

Former Kansas City Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney also attended the same conference with McKenna, and experienced many of the same anti-Catholic prejudices.

Sweeney is chairman of the CAC's Athlete Advisory Board and enjoys the annual CAC Baseball Retreat where he said he's nourished spiritually by his fellow Catholics. During the Nov. 19-21, 2013 retreat, Sweeney held a presentation on the role of the Virgin Mary in the lives of Christians.
"She is the first Christian, the ideal Christian, and the Christian who brings Christ to all Christians," Sweeny told the Register.

Californian native and pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, Justin De Fratus also credits McKenna and CAC for helping his Catholic faith grow, and connecting him with other Catholic professional athletes.

"When I first started in pro ball, you'd think everyone on the team was either a Protestant or just nonreligious. You wouldn't even know who the Catholics were." De Fratus has also been attending the CAC retreats, starting in 2012.

While CAC and McKenna have been incredibly active in the past year, he already has upcoming projects for 2014, including the NFL Combine Mass and the inaugural NFL Retreat.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More Sports

Black magic? Have you heard about the curse broken by the Chicago Cubs? Watch

Image of The Chicago Cubs have won the 2016 World Series.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Chicago Cubs have won the 2016 World Series in a 10-inning game, beating the Cleveland Indians 4-3. The win breaks a 108-year losing streak for the team. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - With an 8-7 score in the 10th inning, the Chicago Cubs have won the ... continue reading


Was Arnold Palmer Catholic? Archabbot shares his story of friendship Watch

Image of Arnold Palmer won 95 professional championships and seven major tournaments.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The world lost a great human being and legendary sportsman in Arnold Palmer. The golfer passed away on September 25, a day before he was to have heart surgery. While many people know about his talent at golf, there was a private side to Palmer that was only known to ... continue reading


First ever Catholic Night hosted by LA Dodgers Watch

Image of LA Dodgers to host Catholic Night.

By Michael Wahle/Angelus News (CNA)

On Sept. 2, Dodger Stadium served as the center of a massive Venn diagram of local Catholics and lifelong fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers, as the ballpark hosted its first-ever "Catholic Night." LOS ANGELES, CA (CNA) - The baseball team hosted, fittingly, the San Diego ... continue reading


Atheist group attacks Christian football coach Watch

Image of Christian football coach Mark Richt.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) group has accused Georgia football coach Mark Richt of forcing his beliefs onto the college football players. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Telegraph reported the FFRF accused Richt and his brother-in-law Kevin ... continue reading


First NFL woman coach added to Arizona Cardinals Watch

Image of Jen Welter is among seven coaching interns working with the team over the summer. Her tenure in 2015 is expected to be brief.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bruce Arians, in his two years as Arizona Cardinals coach, has pressed for diversity on the gridiron. He has hired assistants as young as in their twenties or as old as in their seventies. Arians has now hired the first female NFL coach, Jen Welter. LOS ... continue reading


First Triple Crown winner since 1978, American Pharaoh wins 147th Belmont Stakes Watch

Image of Jockey Victor Espinoza rode American Pharaoh during this year's Triple Crown races.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American Pharaoh became the first horse since 1978 to win the Triple Crown when he won the 147th Belmont Stakes Saturday. Pharaoh's jockey Victor Espinoza pushed his ride to the front after the race started. Pharaoh outclassed the field, pulling away down the ... continue reading


Billy Casper, golf legend, dies at 83 Watch

Image of Billy Casper, golf legend, has died at the age of 83.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Golf legend Billy Casper, a prolific player of the PGA Tour, has died of a heart attack at the age of 83 in his Utah home. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Billy Casper's son said that he died very peacefully and quickly in bed, with his wife Shirley at his bed ... continue reading


Following devestating loss to Seattle, 49ers look to replace Harbaugh in trade Watch

Image of Jim Harbaugh is well known for his excitability on the field, though with his record with the 49ers prior to this season it could be excused because of his successes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Following their fifth regular-season loss to the Seattle Seahawks on November 27, a rumor began circulating that the San Francisco 49ers were getting ready to replace their fiery and animated head coach, Jim Harbaugh. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ESPN's Adam ... continue reading


PILLGATE: Federal agents begin probe into NFL drug abuse Watch

Image of Several NFL teams were inspected by federal agents following their Sunday games as part of a probe into allegations that the NFL condones and permits the illegal use of medication.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Federal agents launched a surprise drug inspection of the NFL's medical staffs on November 16, part of a larger ongoing investigation into accusations that the league is allowing prescription drug abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During the inspection, ... continue reading


Giants beat Royals in Game 7 for eighth championship title Watch

Image of The Giants just won their eight World Series with a 3-2 Game 7 win over the Kansas City Royals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The San Francisco Giants won their eight World Series-the third since 2009-brushing aside incredible odds and a sea of 40,000 Royals fans. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Giants defeated Kansas City 3-2 in Game 7, and with that victory they've become the ... continue reading


All Sports News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 40:1-11
1 'Console my people, console them,' says your God.2 'Speak to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 3, 10, 11-12, 13
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!2 ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:12-14
12 'Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 6th, 2016 Image

St. Nicholas
December 6: The great veneration with which St. Nicholas has ... Read More