Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer got a standing ovation after throwing out the first pitch at a game between the Savannah Sand Gnats and the Asheville Tourists. The Southern Cross, the newspaper for the Diocese of Savannah, captured the windup and the impressive pitch on camera, showing His Excellency’s brown Franciscan robe blowing in the wind at Grayson Stadium.
More than 1,500 Catholic fans were in the stands for the charity game benefitting the Savannah Social Apostolate, an outreach of the Diocese of Savannah that serves the poor and the homeless. In all, more than 2,000 pounds of food were collected for the poor.
And why was Bishop Hartmayer’s prowess so evident on the field? Catholic News Agency talked with Barbara King, director of communications for the diocese, who explained:
…the bishop had a combination of practice and experience on his side.
“He practiced on Tuesday with the Benedictine Military School baseball team, who won state baseball this year,” King told CNA June 5. “He also played some baseball in his youth, so he did a good job both at practice and at the game.”
The event was such a success, the diocese is already planning to do it again next year.
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Don’t think, though, that Bishop Hartmayer is the only representative of the episcopacy to impress in the world of sports.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki, bishop of Springfield, is known affectionately as the “Holy Goalie” because of his skill in hockey.
In fact, Bishop Paprocki has published a book about his hockey career. Holy Goals for Body and Soul: Eight Steps to Connect Sports with God and Faith offers a message for teens and young adults: athletics and fitness provide daily ways to connect with God. Bishop Paprocki weaves his unique personal story with eight athletic topics and connects them with a path to wholeness.