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The Washington Nationals’ Catholic chaplain preached about “the virtue of hope” when team was down

Zelda Caldwell - published on 10/19/19

Msgr. Stephen Rossetti celebrates Mass with the players, coaches and staff of the come-from-behind National League Champions.

Anyone watching the televised broadcast of the last two games of the National League Championship series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals may have noticed a Catholic priest in clerical collar seated in the booth next to a cautiously jubilant Nationals General manager, Mike Rizzo.

An article in Thursday’s Arlington Catholic Herald reveals his identity as Msgr. Stephen Rossetti, the long-time Catholic chaplain for the Washington Nationals. In addition to celebrating Mass with the team, coaches, and staff, Msgr. Rossetti administers to their spiritual and sacramental needs.

“I have baptized their babies, done marriage prep, and helped them with other sacramental issues,” he told Mary McCarthy Hines of Arlington Catholic.

“At the Mass, both teams are invited as well as any staff and coaches. It is a nice time when both teams can gather together before a game and pray together. When Mass is over, I notice how good the opposing teams are to each other, shaking hands and welcoming. It’s a nice witness of unity and mutual respect and esteem,” he said.

As for the Nationals’ improbable comeback from a 19-31 record in May to a spot in the team’s first World Series, Msgr. Rossetti attributes the their success to the team’s faith.

At a Sunday Mass when things were not looking very hopeful for the Nats, Msgr. Rossetti delivered a homily on hope in God. He now says they wouldn’t be where they are today without that hope.

“Early in the season, when we were 12 games below .500, it would have been easy to give up,” he told the Arlington Catholic Herald.

“If they did, they would never be where they are today. In everyone’s life, there are difficult moments. Always, and especially at those times, we hope in God. We know that God is always with us, never abandons us. So, we never give up or give in. We, too, stay in the Christian fight until the end.”

To read the entire story, visit the Arlington Catholic Herald here.

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