What began as a dream in 2013 for two friars who connected over their love of baseball has become an 11-week, 30-city, 17,000-mile tour to all the Major League ballparks in the US. Fr. Casey Cole, OFM and Fr. Roberto “Tito” Serrano, OFM — also known as the “Bleacher Brothers” — are Franciscan Friars who were inspired by their Order’s founder St. Francis to “preach the Gospel wherever people have gathered — ordinary places; not just within the walls of a church,” as explained on their website.
“We want to make ourselves available,” Serrano explained in an interview with Crux. “We want people to come up to us and be curious because we are curiously dressed, so we want them to come up to us, and that gives us an opening to share our life, to share our fraternity, and to share the gospel message in a different way.”
Driving across the country in a rented van, the Bleacher Brothers won’t only be hitting ballparks to watch the games and throw opening pitches, as Fr. Serrano did for the Miami Marlins on May 20; they’ll also be speaking at parishes, schools, and diocesan offices. Their message, according to Fr. Cole, is one of “promoting vocations and inspiring people to be faithful citizens and to be engaged in the world.”
Father Serrano further explained their mission as one of bridging the secular and the sacred:
“I think that this allows us to … find places where a large number of people are gathered, but also at the same time broach the subject of why we are creating this sort of false distance between what is considered secular and sacred,” he said. “Really, God is in all.”
A map of the Bleacher Brothers’ stadium tour, Mass schedule and speaking events is available on their website. Be sure to connect with them when they come to your town!