Dribbling one’s way to Philadelphia may not be the most conventional way to get to the City of Brotherly Love, but that’s how a group of athletic seminarians from the Diocese of Orange are planning to travel there for Pope Francis’ visit in September.
The student priests will be raising funds to finance their trip to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia by taking on a team of ordained priests from the Diocese of Orange in the first-ever Priests vs. Seminarians Basketball Game August 7 at St. Jeanne de Lestonnac School in Tustin.
Priest-seminarian athletic fundraisers “have been a pretty common practice on the East Coast,” says Father John Moneypenny, the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Orange. “and the seminarians of the diocese have kind of been trying to emulate that. We have priests who love to play basketball and the guys thought it would be a nice fundraiser for our trip to go see the Holy Father later this year and, in subsequent years, it would fund the Vocations Office.
“It kind of shows their initiative and their leadership skills, which are the very qualities that you want in future priests. You get to see how well they can organize and put things together. It’s really been a great joy to watch them and see all their enthusiasm for this.”
As of the end of July, the seminarians had fielded a team of 18 players, and they had recruited “at least 16 priests” to form a team, says Father John.
The game “is really a good tool to support vocations as well,” says Father John. “Priests play basketball. Seminarians play basketball. Hopefully it will be a fun event that will show that priests are normal people, and that seminarians don’t just pop out of nowhere and exist, that they come from real lives, too.”
A social hour is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., and a food truck will be available. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Tickets ($10 general admission, $5 students ages 5 to 17) may be purchased at the door or online at http://goo.go/XNdbQC.
St. Jeanne de Lestonnac School is located at 16791 Main St., Tustin.