More than a game: Father Daniel Kelley celebrates Mass for baseball players and staff at Globe Life Field
ARLINGTON — If it’s a Sunday home game for the Texas Rangers, chances are you’ll find Father Daniel Kelley, pastor of St. Jude Parish in Mansfield, at Globe Life Field — not to support the home team, but to celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion.
The priest, who confesses to being a Texas Rangers fan, celebrates Mass Sunday mornings in the auxiliary locker room of the Arlington stadium, on the field level close to the players’ locker room. Signs in both the home and visitor’s locker rooms notify the team that Sunday Mass is offered.
Team rivalries are set aside during Mass, which is attended by players, coaching staff, and management of both teams, as well as stadium security and employees. Fr. Kelley said, “Several managers, whenever they come to play the Rangers, they come to Mass. It’s good to see them, and they’re always really happy to see a priest on Sunday,” he said.
The Texas Rangers players who are Catholic will often attend Mass at their home parish, explained Fr. Kelley, so many of the 30 or so Mass attendees represent the visiting team, as well as stadium employees who must arrive early for the Sunday afternoon games.
“We want everybody to go to Mass on Sunday,” the priest said. “There are a lot of devout Catholics who participate in baseball, including the employees.”
Fr. Kelley just wrapped up his eighth season with the Rangers. He was called up when Catholic Athletes for Christ contacted Bishop Michael Olson and asked the prelate to provide a priest to celebrate Mass at the stadium on Sundays. Fr. Kelley, then pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Arlington, was pleased to take the assignment and continued when transferred to the Mansfield parish.
Formed in 2006, Catholic Athletes for Christ has coordinated Mass for nearly every Major League Baseball and National Football League team.
Although the Rangers baseball organization occasionally gives Fr. Kelley tickets to a game, the priest will cheer “Let’s Go, Rangers” from his home during the World Series.
He believes the Rangers have a strong chance to win their first World Series, feeling “a lot more positive than 2010 and 2011 when we were there last time.”