Baseball and faith go hand-in-hand for Lakewood couple

  • Written by Jean Parietti
  • Published in Local
Mass and baseball can mix, as Jodi and Jack Petrinovich of St. John Bosco Parish in Lakewood are finding on their cross-country journey to visit all 30 Major League Baseball parks. This banner was posted outside Annunciation Catholic Church in Houston, located across the street from Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. Photo: Jodi Petrinovich Mass and baseball can mix, as Jodi and Jack Petrinovich of St. John Bosco Parish in Lakewood are finding on their cross-country journey to visit all 30 Major League Baseball parks. This banner was posted outside Annunciation Catholic Church in Houston, located across the street from Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. Photo: Jodi Petrinovich

Three days after leaving their Lakewood home on an epic baseball road trip, St. John Bosco parishioners Jodi and Jack Petrinovich stopped for Mass in Santa Rosa, California.

Jodi and Jack Petrinovich attend a San Diego Padres game April 15. Photo: Courtesy Jodi Petrinovich
Jodi and Jack Petrinovich attend a San Diego Padres game April 15. Photo: Courtesy Jodi Petrinovich

The couple found the women of St. Rose Parish selling raffle tickets to raise money so local children could visit their incarcerated parents on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They experienced a friendly faith community, including a priest who stepped outside the church to welcome people arriving for Mass.

“The Mass was beautiful and Father Peter [Mactutis, their pastor at St. John Bosco in Lakewood] would be happy to know we are finding Christ in all four places: the community, the Word, the priest and the Eucharist,” Jodi wrote in her travel blog.

Experiencing the Catholic community in different parts of the country is a benefit that comes with a trip around the U.S. to visit all 30 Major League Baseball parks. But the trip isn’t just about baseball.

Children in need
The Petrinoviches sponsor two children in Mexico through Unbound, an international humanitarian organization with Catholic roots. Since visiting those children last fall, “I’ve been praying about it for months and feeling a little guilty about going on this trip and having it be just about this trip,” Jodi said in early April.

The answer came during adoration, she said: Use the trip as a way to find more sponsors for children in need.

So Unbound helped the couple come up with 30 children, one for each ballpark they’re visiting. Each child has either a name similar to a ballplayer’s name, or lives in a player’s home country. So, for example, a Nicaraguan boy named Felix shares a first name with the Mariners’ pitching ace, Felix Hernandez. Five weeks into the trip, the couple is still seeking more than 20 sponsors.

No vacation from Mass
So far, the Petrinoviches have visited 10 ballparks and several churches, and found interesting history and sights along the way.

Going to church while on vacation “helps us to feel part of the local community and often we learn things about the town, the people, the history, etc., that we would not have otherwise learn,” Jodi wrote. She and Jack also enjoy hearing different perspectives in homilies given by the parish priests.

In Anaheim, California, they stopped at Christ Cathedral, the former Crystal Cathedral of the late televangelist Robert H. Schuller that the Catholic Diocese of Orange purchased in 2012. Today, the cathedral has Masses in a variety of languages and is home to the Magis Center and EWTN’s newly dedicated West Coast studio.

In late April, they went to Mass at Albuquerque’s San Felipe de Neri Church, which has a history dating back to the 1700s. The following weekend, they stopped for Mass at Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The church was rebuilt after it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “So beautiful and so trusting in God to rebuild right on the Gulf,” Jodi wrote in an email.

San Felipe de Neri Church in Albuquerque has a history dating back to the 1700s. Jodi and Jack Petrinovich attended Mass there on Good Shepherd Sunday
San Felipe de Neri Church in Albuquerque has a history dating back to the 1700s. Jodi and Jack Petrinovich attended Mass there on Good Shepherd Sunday. Photo: Jodi Petrinovich

At the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Mobile, Alabama, photos of the archdiocese’s many seminarians caught Jodi’s eye. “I thought, ‘Wow, we could use a few of those in the Northwest,” she said.

On Mother’s Day weekend, through a low-cost travel club, the Petrinoviches stayed with a Catholic couple in Parrish, Florida. “It was wonderful to stay in a Catholic home, sharing stories of our faith and going to Mass with them,” Jodi wrote.

“The one thing I love about being Catholic is no matter where you are in the world, you can always go to Mass,” Jodi said. “Even if you don’t speak the language, you can always get something out of Mass.”

Learn how to sponsor an Unbound child: unbound.org/myoutreach/JodiJackP

Jodi and Jack Petrinovich attended Mass at of Our Lady of the Gulf Church in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, May 2. The church was restored after it was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005
Jodi and Jack Petrinovich attended Mass at of Our Lady of the Gulf Church in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, May 2. The church was restored after it was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Photo: Jodi Petrinovich