By Tim Harfmann
FLUSHING — A couple of priests enjoyed watching the Mets-Pittsburgh Pirates game on TV on July 28.
“If they lose, we pray for them. If they win, we celebrate with them,” said Father Martin Adjei, a priest from Ghana who’s helping out in the Brooklyn Diocese for the summer.
He got hooked on baseball because of Father Ed Kachurka, the pastor at Mary’s Nativity-St. Ann parish, Flushing, which is where Father Adjei is assigned.
Father Adjei is among the 80 clergy from all over the world who are pitching in this summer, giving the priests of Brooklyn and Queens time to go on vacation or retreat.
He made his first visit to the U.S. last summer, and that’s when Father Kachurka had an idea.
“I said, ‘Would you like to go to a ballgame and experience baseball here in America?’” Father Kachurka said.
“The first reaction was, ‘What is it about?’” Father Adjei responded.
He became a fan of the game and quickly set out to learn the rules.
“There are pitchers, there are catchers; there’s a lot of running and a lot of rules. You have nine innings in the game, and at the end, there is a loser and there is a winner,” Father Adjei said.
When Father Adjei returned to Ghana last fall, he and Father Kachurka stayed connected on social media. Their favorite topics were baseball and the Mets.
Father Adjei stays on top of what’s happening in the diocese year-round, thanks to the daily newsletters from The Tablet and Currents News.
“This has become my second home,” he said. “I don’t want to be out-of-date. Let me know what goes on, what Bishop DiMarzio says, what is going on in the diocese, so when I come, I will be well integrated in the diocese.”
“He’s a big part of the parish now,” Father Kachurka said. “There was actually a countdown by parishioners, counting the days when he was going to be coming back. That’s how much he’s been loved.”
“The church is one,” Father Adjei said. “Whether in Ghana, in my Diocese of Goaso, or in the Brooklyn Diocese of New York, the church is one.”
One church and one team, because when it comes to the visiting priest, as Tug McGraw of the 1973 pennant-winning Mets said, “Ya gotta believe.”