Honorees wave from home plate during the pre-game ceremony for Catholic Night at Fenway, July 19. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
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BACK BAY -- The thousands of baseball fans seated in the stands at Fenway Park erupted into applause and cheers as students from St. Paul's Choir School in Cambridge finished the last note of the National Anthem as players for the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants began to put their caps back on their heads, July 19.
The end of the anthem marked the beginning of the game, but it drew to a close the pre-game events to mark Fenway Park's third annual Catholic Night, which began with a video message from Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley that played on the Fenway Park screen.
"Good evening. As archbishop of Boston, I'm very happy to welcome everyone to Catholic Night at Fenway Park. We're grateful to the Red Sox organization for providing the opportunity to come together as people of faith in this historic ball park, and for welcoming us this evening," the cardinal's message began.
"The catholic community is proud to have an active role in promoting good will and providing assistance in greater Boston and throughout Massachusetts," he continued, before eight Catholic leaders were brought out onto the field to be honored for their service to others and to the Church.
Standing next to Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster, the honorees waved up to the crowd as their names and accomplishments were read over the loudspeakers.
The honorees included Father Shawn Carey, director of the Archdiocese of Boston's Deaf Apostolate; Sister Marian Batho, CSJ, the archdiocese's Delegate of Religious; Father Jim Flavin, Episcopal Vicar of Central Region; Father William Joy, Assistant Vicar for Administration and Special Assistant to the Vicar General; Father James Dodson, Pastor of St. Michael Parish and School in Brattleboro, Vt. and the Assistant Vocations Director for the Diocese of Burlington; John Greeley, a Deputy Grand Knight in the Knights of Columbus Crozier Council #3973; Scott Sullivan, a member of the planning committee for the Young Adult group of St. Cecilia Parish in Boston; and Rose Labadini, a senior at Waltham High School and an active parishioner of Sacred Heart Parish in Waltham.
The students "were very, very excited," said the Choir School's music director John Robison, who noted that this is the second year in a row that the choir has sung the National Anthem for Catholic Night at Fenway.
"It's an honor to be able to do something like this and show people the signing we do all the time," he said.
The music ministry team at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, a six-piece ensemble called The Arch Street Band, also performed at the park, playing three 20-minute sets of both religious and secular music before the game started.
Father Flavin, speaking to The Pilot after the event, said it was a "dream come true" to be able to walk out onto the field at Fenway Park.
He said he was thankful for the opportunity Catholic Night provided to highlight the many good works the Archdiocese of Boston does.
"We help so many folks through education, through social services, in parish life -- just to highlight that any time and help people see how much is really happening and how positive the Church is, is a great event to be a part of," he said.