I worked my way through seminary as a night-shift copy editor with The Denver Post. Commuting from the numinous to the newsroom produced some unusual contrasts.

On weekends, when the football scores were coming into the sports desk, I often had to grin at the headlines on some of the parochial league games:

ST. JOSEPH WHIPS HOLY FAMILY. Or ST. FRANCIS CLOBBERS CARDINALS.

Not exactly what I'd been reading about those saints a few hours earlier.

As a divinity student (and son of a church historian) I saw even professional sports cities with different lenses. For me, San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, and San Antonio all testified as much to church history as sports history. Even today, when Dad and I talk, the conversation often mingles saints and superstars.

Ever since I first read Polycarp's unflinching responses to the Roman proconsul who would sentence him to death, or the story of Loyola (his leg mangled by a cannon ball, he found a book on the life of Jesus and decided to become a soldier ...

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