Saturday, January 23, 2010

IN THIS YEAR OF THE PRIESTS, SOME GOOD NEWS FOR A CHANGE

In this Year of the Priest, we have a "hopeful" who is entering the seminary. This is a great story. Share it with your young sons! Pray that Grant perseveres in the seminary and God willing is ordained. Many are called, few are chosen! The following story is from ESPN and AP News wire:

Top A's prospect enters priesthood
ESPN.com news services

As a top prospect for the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Grant Desme might've gotten the call every minor leaguer wants this spring.

Instead, he believed he had another, higher calling.

Desme announced Friday that he was leaving baseball to enter the priesthood, walking away after a breakout season in which he became MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

"I was doing well at ball. But I really had to get down to the bottom of things," the 23-year-old Desme said. "I wasn't at peace with where I was at."

A lifelong Catholic, Desme thought about becoming a priest for about a year and a half. He kept his path quiet within the sports world, and his plan to enter a seminary this summer startled the A's when he told them Thursday night.

General manager Billy Beane "was understanding and supportive," Desme said, but the decision "sort of knocked him off his horse." After the talk, Desme felt "a great amount of peace."

"I love the game, but I aspire to higher things," he said. "I know I have no regrets."

In a statement, Beane said: "We respect Grant's decision and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."

Athletes and the priesthood have overlapped, albeit rarely.

Al Travers, who gave up 24 runs during a one-game career for a makeshift Detroit Tigers team in 1912, became a Catholic priest. More recently, Chase Hilgenbrinck of the New England Revolution left Major League Soccer in 2008 to enter a seminary.

Desme spoke on a conference call for about 10 minutes in a quiet, even tone, hardly sounding like many gung-ho, on-the-rise ballplayers. As for his success in the minors, he said "all of it is very undeserving."

The Athletics picked Desme in the second round of the 2007 amateur draft and he was starting to blossom. He was the only player in the entire minors with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases last season.

Desme batted .288 with 31 homers, 89 RBIs and 40 steals in 131 games at Class-A Kane County and high Class-A Stockton last year. He hit .315 with a league-leading 11 home runs and 27 RBIs in 27 games this fall in Arizona, a league filled with young talent.

Desme went into the AFL championship game well aware it might be the last time he ever played. "There was no sad feeling," he said. He homered and struck out twice, which "defines my career a bit."

The Big West Player of the Year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Desme was ranked as Oakland's No. 8 prospect by Baseball America. There was speculation the Athletics might invite Desme to big league spring training next month.

Rather, Desme intends to enter a seminary in Silverado, Calif., in August. He said abbey members didn't seem surprised someone who would "define myself as a baseball player" was changing his life so dramatically.

Desme said he didn't consider pursuing his spiritual studies while also trying to play ball. His family backed his decision and he said the positive reaction to his future goal -- the surprising news spread quickly over the Internet -- was "inspiring."

"It's about a 10-year process," he said. "I desire and hope I become a priest." In a way, he added, it's like "re-entering the minor leagues."

Desme's first two years in the minors were beset by shoulder and wrist problems. He said his days off the field gave him time to think about what was most important to him, to read and study the Bible and to talk to teammates about his faith.

In retrospect, he said, those injuries were "the biggest blessings God ever gave me."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Your comments?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story

Robert Kumpel said...

I am not sure what diocese the seminary in Silverado serves, but could it be that he is going to be incardinated to the Diocese of Oakland? If so, I am not surprised. Oakland's new bishop, Salvatore Cordileone, is a top-notch bishop who truly thinks with the mind of the Church. He also is very open to Summorum Pontificum and regularly offers the Traditional Latin Mass. Those two qualities alone guarantee a rise in vocations.

I am also proud to say that he is a native of San Diego and was an outstanding auxiliary bishop for San Diego until his promotion.

h.edwards said...

According to a comment at Father Z's, Grant Desme comes from a family that has always attended the EF Latin Mass in Bakersfield, CA. They respect the validity of the OF Mass but their heart is with all things traditional.

He is entering the Norbertines at St. Michael's Abbey. They celebrate the Mass in Latin, both OF and EF, and chant all 7 hours of the Divine Office daily.

The effect of the Latin Mass on youth is awesome. Our small TLM community in Knoxville -- only about a hundred attending weekly -- after just 4 years already has 2 young men in seminaries, a young woman in the Nashville Dominicans, plus at least a couple each of young men and women in advanced stages of discernment. So it's no surprise to me that traditional seminaries and convents are over-flowing.

Frajm said...

To H. Ewards, I fully agree with you. Shortly after beginning to celebrate the EF Mass, I told our Bishop that I could see why this form of the Mass would capture the hearts and minds of young men and cause them to want to join the priesthood. I think it no coincidence that the decline vocations is a result of the manner in which we celebrate Mass today. While I don't necessarily think Latin is the answer, I do think the Order and spirituality of the EF Mass is what attracts young men--it is the reverence, spirituality and complexity of the rites that does it, not to mention Jesus Christ! This form of the Mass is more "masculine" in the cultural sense also, more reserved, less focused on the priest, an economy of words, whereas the OF Mass is much more feminine in terms of all of the above, gestures, look at me, open arms, come and get me, verbosity, not to be sexist. I think the anthropology and psychology of the two Masses should be examined in terms of attractiveness to males. Fr. Allan McDonald

Laura Ermine said...

What a wonderful article! With so many negative things presented throughout the news, it is nice to see some positive stories. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

A wonderful witness to the fact that being at the top of your game will never be enough when compared to what God offers those who follow him in the ministry of the Priesthood. May God bless his jouney and use him as an instrument to inspire other young men to take that leap of faith.

Henry Edwards said...

Fr. McDonald,

Regarding the feminization of the liturgy:

The Emasculation of the Priesthood
http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/articles/articles_emasculation.html