His day began early with 7:30 Mass at St. Mary’s Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, a short walk from the Hall of Fame. As he left the church, he met with a beaming Father John Rosson, who said, “We have a celebrity in church this morning.” Piazza asked for and received a special blessing from the priest. Piazza signed autographs and took pictures with parishioners.
In his acceptance speech Piazza thanked both his parents and described his Catholic faith as the greatest gift of all from his parents, especially his mother, Veronica:
She gave me the gift of my Catholic faith, the greatest gift a mother could give a child, which has had a profound impact on my career and has given me patience, compassion and hope. Pope Benedict the XVI said, ‘One who has hope, lives differently.’ Mom, you raised five boys, and you were always there for me.’
Piazza has often credited his Catholic upbringing as being the foundation of his life. He was one of the athletes featured in the evangelization movie, "Champions of Faith", about the journey of Christian athletes. He regularly attends special Masses held at baseball stadiums around the country for the players and is sometimes a lector.
Who among us will ever forget this moment, captured beautifully by Major League Baseball:
The Register piece closes with these words of wisdom from the man:
We want to try to get closer to God. We want to try to be like Jesus. We always want to try to get on that horse and do the right thing, and be positive. And be positive not just for yourself but for other people.
Lord, help us in that endeavor. Amen.
LATE ADDITION: While readying to hit the publish button, I came across Max Lindenman's related Aleteia piece:
In the speech marking his induction into Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame, former National League all-star Mike Piazza quoted, of all the things in the world to quote, Pope Benedict’s encyclical Spe Salvi. “Those who have hope live differently,” he said, with the authority of a 62nd-round draft pick who went on to hit more home runs than any catcher in the history of the sport, including Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench.
Read the whole thing... Max has a way with words.