To the Editor:
Recently, Major League Baseball bid farewell to the greatest closer in the history of the game; Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees is retiring after 19 years as a professional athlete. However, his first love is being a real role model, a disciple of God. Hke’s on a mission now; instead of “saving games,” he wants to help save “Souls.” I read recently he has begun construction on a church in New Rochelle, N.Y. to bring God’s message of hope and peace, to serve the needs of the community, especially of the youth, and put them on a path to God.
It is very evident Mariano’s faith has made him the man he is today. He wasn’t just a rich, talented ballplayer, but a man with much courage to put is faith in God into practice for many years, even when it was not the most popular thing to do. He has built elementary schools in his native country of Panama, and in New York has established programs for the underprivileged, and given Christmas gifts to children most in need.
In recent years, many professional athletes have been poor authentic role models to our youth. We should never forget to recognize a “real role model” like Mariano Rivera, who proudly professes his faith on and off the field.
Imagine, on his baseball glove, Rivera has written the words from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians (4:13), “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Words for all of us to live by!
Richard D. Walsh