Two Franciscans priests — Fr. Casey Cole, O.F.M., and Fr. Roberto “Tito” Serrano, O.F.M. — are about to hit Milwaukee on their 11-week, 17,000-mile summer road trip to visit all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums.
Calling themselves the “Bleacher Brothers,” Frs. Cole and Serrano will take in the Milwaukee Brewers’ game against the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. Thursday, June 23.
From Miami to Seattle and Chicago to Los Angeles, the Franciscan friars are crisscrossing the United States and Canada to attend games and meet people where they are, preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In 2013, Frs. Cole and Serrano began to dream how they might preach in the modern world like St. Francis of Assisi did in the 13th Century: to ordinary people in the spaces they gather in ways they understand. Avid baseball fans, Frs. Cole and Serrano came up with the idea of spending a summer visiting the ballparks of America’s pastime, inviting people “home” to the Catholic Church. That dream is finally coming true this summer.
They have celebrated and will celebrate Masses and have also planned visits to Catholic schools, parishes and dioceses for talks along the way.
“St. Francis didn’t just preach in churches,” said Cole, the author of the new book, The Way of Beatitude. “He had a gift of finding God even in the ordinary. For 800 years, the Franciscans have continued this legacy. This trip is our way of carrying on what St. Francis started.”
The stadium tour kicked off with a visit to the Miami Marlins (vs. Atlanta Braves) on May 20 and will end with the Colorado Rockies (vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers) on July 30.
You can see the complete schedule for the Bleacher Brothers tour on breakinginthehabit.org.