by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
In January 1999, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in what is now the Edward Jones Dome, the stadium where the St. Louis Rams play. In January 2000, the Rams won the Super Bowl.
On Sunday, May 25, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI will not be able to visit the
field where the Royals play, but Jesus truly will be present at Kauffman Stadium as the Catholics of Kansas and Missouri join together to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi with an afternoon of eucharistic adoration.
The feast of the Holy Rosary is celebrated on Oct. 7, commemorating the Christian naval victory in the year 1571 at Lepanto, where the combined Christian fleets of Spain, the city states of Italy, and the Knights of Malta defeated the equally large Turkish fleet. The victory of Lepanto was a critical turning point in thwarting the efforts of 16th-century Muslims to invade Christian Europe.
The saintly Pope Pius V, who had helped to assemble the fleet, urged sailors, soldiers and civilians to pray the rosary, invoking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to protect Europe.
Pope Pius V attributed the naval victory of Lepanto to the power of Mary’s intercession.
On Sunday, May 25, during the month especially designated to honor Mary, the Catholics of Kansas and Missouri will pray the global living rosary for peace. With the capacity of modern weaponry to inflict such horrible devastation on our world, in some ways our situation is more desperate and the need for peace more urgent than in 16th-century Europe.
Some generous donors have made heroic sacrifices in order to make it possible for us to rent Kauffman Stadium and its parking facilities for Sunday, May 25. Everyone on both sides of State Line Road is invited to attend and to participate in what promises to be a very special afternoon of prayer. The only charge is the gift of your time.
I begin every day in prayer before our eucharistic Lord. This time of surrendering and entrusting my day to the Lord gives me an interior serenity, protecting me against all the potentially anxiety-causing challenges or difficulties of the day.
I will often pray the rosary in my car as I am traveling to a parish where I am scheduled to preach or to an event where I am scheduled to speak. As I begin the rosary, I frequently feel distracted by the earlier events of the day and anxious about my ability to be able to speak the words the Lord desires for his people to hear. By the time I have finished contemplating the face of Jesus with Mary through the rosary, I feel focused and at peace.
I am making no guarantees that after our afternoon of eucharistic adoration and praying the rosary for peace, the Royals will win the World Series or that the war on terrorism will come to a speedy and successful conclusion. Yet, I am confident that if you come to Kauffman Stadium on May 25, you and your family will be blessed. If you entrust the challenges and problems of your life
to Jesus uniquely present in the Eucharist and invoke the intercession of his mother, Mary, I am certain you will experience a peace and serenity in your heart.
May 25 is exactly one month from the publication date of this edition of The Leaven. I exhort you to arrange and, if necessary, to rearrange your schedule so that you and your family are able to attend. This is a unique opportunity to give public witness of your Catholic faith by showing your love for Jesus uniquely present in the Eucharist and pleasing Our Lord by honoring his Mother through the praying of the rosary.
Jesus promised: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”(Mt 18: 20). Should we not be confident that Jesus will truly be in the midst of the thousands gathered at Royals Stadium on May 25? If Pope Benedict XVI was coming to Kansas City, would you want to be there? How can you decline the invitation to come to Kauffman Stadium on May 25 when we know that Jesus — the one the pope merely represents — will be there?
Think about it!