By STEPHEN O’KANE, Special To The Bulletin | Published October 11, 2007
Nearly 100 young adults attended Theology on Tap as it wrapped up this year’s series on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at Frankie’s on the Prado in Atlanta. This season, which began early in July, offered a consistently casual but always spiritually uplifting experience for Atlanta-area adults.
“Theology on Tap offers young adults an opportunity to come together in a casual setting, usually at a local bar or restaurant, to discuss different aspects of our Catholic faith and how it applies to everyday life,” said Dorothy Polchinski, director of young adult ministry in Atlanta. “It’s an event that draws young adults of all denominations and walks of life.”
The event began with a gathering at 7 p.m., where attendees could visit with other young adults and order food and drinks. A diverse group of Catholics filed in as the room started to grow with laughter and fellowship. As food and drink began arriving at the tables, a prayer was said before the evening’s speaker was introduced, using an excerpt from “Champions of Faith,” a film that explores the faith of several professional athletes.
The film briefly told the story of Jack McKeon, major league baseball’s oldest World Series winning manager, and how his historical 2003 season unfolded. The two-time National League Manager of the Year was released by the Cincinnati Reds in 2000 after three winning seasons, and McKeon was left with the feeling that his professional career was unfulfilled. After years of prayer, he was called out of retirement to manage the Florida Marlins, which won the World Series in 2003 for the first time against the New York Yankees.
Following the inspirational video, McKeon took the podium and began his witness. He told of his upbringing in New Jersey and how fortunate he was to have been surrounded by a strong Catholic environment. He learned of the power of prayer at a young age and made that, along with Mass, an important aspect of his life. McKeon also spoke of the importance of intercession and how the Blessed Mother and St. Therese of Lisieux helped fulfill his desire to win a World Series before retiring. He felt that God answered his World Series prayers in order to give him a platform to share his faith. To this day, when asked who the most valuable player of the 2003 season was, he always answers, “St. Therese, the Little Flower.”
McKeon drew many parallels between a life of prayer and holiness to the game of baseball. He expressed his belief that a holy life, much like a career in baseball, does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and practice to attain what you desire. He also encouraged the attendees to seek a friendship with God and to try praying more conversationally, as if talking to a close friend.
McKeon’s talk was not only inspiring but also entertaining. His witness was full of comical stories about fellow baseball legends, such as Yogi Berra, and he led the crowd into several fits of laughter as he relived those experiences again. Following his talk, McKeon answered questions from the audience and then made himself available for autographs and pictures.
“Jack McKeon’s stories really put a personal touch on his witness,” said Jacqui Pilch, a first-time attendee of Theology on Tap. “The audience visibly enjoyed his experiences, which were not only fun to listen to, but inspiring as well.”
For more information about Theology on Tap or current YAM events in the area, please visit www.yam.org or contact Dorothy Polchinski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 885-7248.