What started as a small group outing for our Residents and employees grew into a fundraiser with a crowd of nearly 250 fans of minor league baseball AND the Little Sisters of the Poor gathering together for a spectacular night of fun, food, and fellowship on August 22 at the newly renovated PNC Field, Moosic.
But before I get ahead of myself, let me take a few steps back and fill in some details about how all of this came into play.
Back in January, I discovered that the rebranded and newly named Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, Triple A baseball affiliate of the New York Yankees, were searching for community organizations to honor at each of their home games during the 2013 season. After discussing it with Mother Maureen, we decided this good and free program would be an excellent tool to reach out to the community to let them know what the Little Sisters of the Poor are all about. To our great delight, we were selected to participate in the program and would receive the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a game, promote the Sisters’ mission during on-field and radio interviews, and have a table on the ballpark concourse where the Sisters could talk with the community and share their mission.
Needless to say as word started traveling around our home that Mother Maureen would be “taking the hill” to throw out the first pitch, employees, benefactors, AJJ members, and friends started asking how they could get tickets to this special event.
With so much excitement building about the game, we decided to create our very own Little Sisters “fan gear” and had t-shirts promoting the event made and sold them for $5 each to attendees who bought their game tickets from our home. We also initiated a “Sponsor a Resident” program reaching out to the community to purchase tickets and fan gear for our Residents. Through the good will of many people, our efforts raised nearly $1,000 which is a great help to us!
As the months turned to weeks and then to days, our big night at the stadium finally arrived. While Mother was honored to be representing the Little Sisters by being interviewed on the field and throwing out the first pitch of the game, she was even more delighted when we received the news from the stadium on game day that one of our Residents would also be recognized through the RailRiders “Military Recognition Program” at the game. Upon entering the field with Mother Maureen, Mr. Pat Pratico, a 95 year old veteran of World War II, received a great round of applause as the emcee announced all of the places Pat fought to protect the freedoms we enjoy today. It was so touching to see so many people recognize his efforts. In fact, even as he was exiting the field and returning to his seat, people were clapping for him and stopping him to shake his hand and thank him for everything he has done for America. It really was the kind of moment that restores your faith in humanity and makes you proud to be an American.
Following Mother and Pat’s moments in the spotlight, the RailRiders took the field against the Pawtucket Red Sox. Even though the RailRiders lost the game by a score of 5-2, were we ever thrilled to be at one of the games New York Yankees all-star shortstop and captain Derek Jeter played at as he nursed a sore calf back to health. While some may call it luck, I can’t say I’m surprised Jeter was at our game … would heaven have it any other way on the Little Sisters of the Poor night?
As you ponder that deep thought (just kidding), check out these photos from the game by clicking here. Enjoy!
Until next time,