Of Saints…

Mike Piazza 9.21.2011
Mike Piazza after his home run against the Atlanta Braves on September 21, 2011. Click to watch.

On Sunday, July 24, 2016, Mets catcher Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York, doubling the number of Mets in the Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame election is baseball’s canonization.

Pray4Mets’ biggest challenge in 2015 was discerning a way to help men who were rabid Mets fans and strident atheists to have a positive attitude and pray* for the team, players & managers. To boost the mood of Mets fans, I needed this corpus of NY METro energy to swing at least to neutral position from negative…a shift in spirit and karma. Mets needed a positive attitude to have a positive season. This specific solution was not in my toolkit, but I knew I had good resources around me.

Showcasing the beauty of a high-functioning, cross-functional team, Mets fan & attorney David immediately suggested positioning Tom Seaver as a ‘Saint’ — being the only Met in the Hall of Fame — to which atheists could pray. I recall him saying something along these lines:  ‘Mets fans who are atheists really do have a saint — and it’s Tom Seaver.’ You may remember the enormous energy shift that occurred among Mets fans during the 2015 season. Of course, and, unexpectedly, the team made it to the World Series. Truly miraculous, David.

Thinking back to my 12 years of daily religious instruction, we drilled pretty deeply into theology, faith, practice, etc. The subject of canonization is a large field, and I remember the gist of some of our assignments, depending on grade level: ‘what are the criteria for canonization of a saint?’ ‘what is a relic and identify the location of relics of three saints,’ ‘why are Moses and Jesus not saints?, ‘write an 8-page biography of your favorite saint,’ ‘in a 15-page paper, explain the stature of St. Augustine within the Roman Catholic Church; show your outline.’ Hours would be spent researching in the school library and in my local public library branch. Did we discuss, when Joe Pipitone, son of a butcher, brought sheep’s eyes into science class: ‘can eyeballs be a relic?’ That year, Denny McClain was the season’s favorite player, Sr. Margaret Maureen ignored that her students were listening to the World Series on their transistor radios, a fellow named John Franco was in our class, and, in sync with the amazing American optimism of 1968, we dreamed of being astronauts.

Today, we can simply go to Wikipedia to find out about Mike Piazza and canonization. Finding faith and hope still takes a while, though, and sometimes takes work.

Under the miracles requirement for canonization,

To be canonized a saint, at least two miracles must have been performed through the saint’s intercession…

Let’s keep praying* to our ‘St. Tom’ again in 2016, and give thanks that another baseball patron we can invoke is being anointed on Sunday. Congratulations and thank you, Mike Piazza.

*Prayers, wishes, hopes, visions, incantations, chants, novenas & finger-crossings — all are welcome and needed.

On Sunday, my husband Todd and I will travel to Cooperstown for Mike Piazza’s  Hall of Fame induction. Send your thoughts and prayers to Pray4Mets@gmail.com or maureenedelson@hotmail.com, and we’ll deliver them for you. 

Maureen Edelson, Montclair, New Jersey

 

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