Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sports and Faith: Father Freedy's Story

Father Joe Freedy on Cover of Sports and Faith
Father Joe Freedy is one of the athletes discussed in Patrick McCaskey's personal chronicle, Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout published by Sporting Chance Press. Father Freedy's photo, taken by Mark Bolster, graces the cover of the book designed by Don Torres. Father Joe was a college quarterback at the University of Buffalo who seemed to be heading towards marriage and a family, but changed direction to the Priesthood. “It was a huge tug on my heart,” Freedy said, “but the Lord was calling me to this.” He had to break from his friends to dedicate himself to preparing for his ministry. He received his master’s degree in philosophy from Duquesne University and attended the Pontifical North American College at the Vatican.

Monsignor Sciera of Pittsburgh counseled Freedy on his vocation and when they were both in Rome, the monsignor brought him along to a private chapel in Saint Peter’s, where the monsignor said a private Mass alongside the pontiff, Pope John Paul II.  Freedy remembered feeling the Pope’s holiness in a tangible way as John Paul II came into the chapel. The pontiff was ill and it was painful for him to move about, but the Mass was a highly charged faith experience.

After John Paul II death, Freedy received the first papal blessing of Pope Benedict XVI along with thousands of others in Saint Peter’s Square. He also visited with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity at their mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

After completing his courses at Pontifical North American College in Rome, Father Joe returned to the Pittsburgh Diocese where he has served in parish work. He is currently director of vocations for the Diocese. He is looking to help those other quarterbacks who may receive the special signals outside the huddle that he himself received.
Copyright 2014 Sporting Chance Press.