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BOSTON -- The Red Sox honored five members of the archdiocese and the work of the Catholic Appeal in a pre-game ceremony on June 24, part of Fenway Park's sixth annual Catholic Night.
Before the ceremony, the park screens played a video message from Cardinal Seán O'Malley.
"Among the most important works of our Church are those that serve others. From Catholic education, and serving the poor, to addiction recovery services, tonight we honor life-changing work funded by the Catholic Appeal. God bless. And go Sox!" Cardinal O'Malley said.
The five honorees from the archdiocese were Deacon Pedro LaTorre, a permanent deacon at Holy Redeemer Parish in East Boston; Philip Moloney, who works in Addiction Recovery Pastoral Support Services; Gerry Nelson, who volunteers 20 hours a week in the Faith Community Nursing Program; Natalia Pellicano, director of Faith Formation and Missionary Discipleship for Ethnic Communities; and Michelle Sanders, who has taught second grade at Holy Name Parish School in West Roxbury for 12 years.
Maribeth Wahle, VP of Development Marketing for Boston Catholic Development Services, told the Pilot she was "grateful that the crowd was so receptive to these folks being honored."
"When people do great work, as these folks do in Catholic education and addiction recovery, or just serving their communities or parishes, it's nice that the broader community sees that as well," she said.
Wahle said she thought the honorees reinforced the cardinal's message about the Church's work to help others.
"I had suggested we honor the work of the Catholic Appeal because I really felt the folks who were honored on the field do extraordinary things for people in their communities, and I also think it's work that not everybody would know is work that's offered by our Church and we thought that would be a great message to share with a broader audience at a place like Fenway," Wahle said.
Speaking to the Pilot the day after the game, Natalia Pellicano said it was "pretty awesome" to be among those honored at home plate in Fenway Park.
"We work with the ethnic communities, and they're a big part of the Catholic population within the archdiocese, so it was wonderful to see that the work that we're doing with them is helping out and getting recognized there," she said.
Richard Clark directed the Archdiocesan Festival and Youth Choir in singing the National Anthem before the game started. The choir included more than 25 children, many of them from St. Paul's Choir School, St. Agatha Parish in Milton, and other schools and parishes.
Clark said he reminded everyone in the choir that it was a prayer.
"While this was a very fun night, it is also a form of evangelization -- to see such a large and diverse group of children and adults singing as one voice and with joy can only evoke joy to others. To do so in a secular environment is important outreach," Clark said.
He compared singing the National Anthem to singing in Mass, saying both must "evoke a sense of reverence."
"It is another call for gratitude to God for the blessings we enjoy in this country, in particular, the freedom of religion," he said.
The Red Sox played against the Chicago White Sox that night. The Red Sox won the game six to five, with the winning run scored in the bottom of the ninth.