“Every Christian is called to become a strong athlete of Christ, that is, a faithful and courageous witness to his Gospel. But to succeed in this, he must persevere in prayer, be trained in virtue and follow the divine Master in everything.” Homily from Saint Pope John Paul II (October 29, 2000)
Light the World! will attend to the importance of naming goals and determining strategies, training, working with others and disciplined practice which leads naturally into the ways that sport can serve in our lives simultaneously as a leisure activity and a way to practice the common elements of a vocation.
Faith and Sports Speakers
Danny Espinosa, #8
Danny Espinosa is a professional athlete for Major League Baseball. Currently he is the Shortstop for the Washington Nationals Baseball Team.
Espinosa, who is of Mexican-American descent, played college baseball at California State University, Long Beach. He played shortstop and hit .303 with 11 home runs and 98 RBIs in his three-year career.
e was drafted as a shortstop by the Washington Nationals in the third round of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft.
When the major league rosters expanded on September 1, 2010, Espinosa was called up to the majors for the first time. He appeared in his first game that night. In his first at bat, he hit a ground ball to second base that took an odd hop and went into right field, allowing Espinosa to turn it into an RBI double when he saw that the right fielder hadn’t charged the ball.
He now is the starting Shortstop for the Nationals and lives in the DC area with his wife Sara and son Ty.
Ray McKenna, Esq.
Ray McKenna is the founder and president of Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC). A federal government lawyer for 20 years, and later working for President George W. Bush’s administration, McKenna moved outside the D.C. Beltway in recent years. While maintaining a private law practice, in 2006, he founded Catholic Athletes for Christ, a nonprofit organization that serves Catholics in professional sports by providing retreats, team chaplains and priests for clubhouse Masses. While evangelical groups are far ahead of Catholics in forming prayer groups and Bible studies and promoting famous athletes (think Tim Tebow), McKenna soon hopes to equal their work for Catholics.
CAC serves Catholic athletes in the practice of their faith and promotes evangelization in and through sports to the whole world. They do this by assisting in ensuring availability of the sacraments at sporting venues, such as arranging for a priest for Sunday Mass. They also connect more than 75 Catholic athlete speakers (whom we call “Cathletes”) with parishes, youth conferences, schools and other Catholic groups, such as the Knights of Columbus. They also provide spiritual direction and formation through athlete retreats and days of recollection.
Ray McKenna aides Light the World! in booking “Cathletes” to speak to our students and also engages Light the World! participants in a presentation on the theology of sports.
My favorite thing that we did at the Light the World was going to the National’s game and meeting Danny Espinosa. I had always separated athletes from the world of religion, and hearing him talk about his faith made me realize that having God on your team will help you reach high places.- Andrea, Participant 2016