Going to bat for the home team

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis and Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley aren’t afraid to get their game on.

St. Louis Archbishop Robert  J. Carlson

St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

In the spirit of the 2013 World Series pitting the Boston Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals and beginning tonight in Boston, the two archbishops have made a friendly wager: The archbishop of the losing team will give a personal donation of $100 to Catholic Charities in the winning team’s archdiocese.

This is not exactly trading the famed toasted ravioli of St. Louis for Boston’s clam chowder, but as the press release from Cardinal O’Malley’s office points out:  “Every gift matters for the mission of Catholic Charities and for the people who turn to the church for assistance in times of need.”

In a statement announcing St. Louis Archdiocese’s part in the wager, Archbishop Carlson also offered a prayer for the competing teams. “May the Lord’s blessing fall upon the players of both teams. May they play to the best of their ability and without any injuries. As we celebrate the joy that comes from friendly competition, let us also call to mind the mission of the church as evidenced in the great work of Catholic Charities.”

The St. Louis archbishop is no stranger to betting on the World Series.

Two years ago when the Cardinals faced the Texas Rangers in the World Series, Archbishop Carlson challenged Bishop Kevin W. Vann, then head of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (and now bishop  of Orange, Calif.), to a wager involving local food items, charitable donations and a Stetson cowboy hat.

This year, politicians have also gotten into the wagering spirit, although not completely.

Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley

Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley

The St. Louis and Boston mayors have declined to make any kind of bet on this year’s matchup but the state’s governors — maybe recalling the Boston-St. Louis World Series of 2004 — have put some local food and drink on the line.

If the Cardinals win, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will donate New England Clam Chowder from Boston’s Legal Sea Foods, beverages from Worcester’s Polar Beverages and baked goods from Dancing Deer Bakery Co. in Boston.

If the Red Sox win, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will donate Cardinal Cream Soda from Fitz’s Bottling Co., chocolates from Bissinger’™s Chocolates, and an assortment of Italian baked goods from Missouri Baking Co.

But both governors were confident they would not have to supply these local items since each was sure their team would walk away with the World Series trophy.

Ambassadorial introductions: formal and not so formal

Ken Hackett, the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, presented his credentials to Pope Francis Oct. 21.

The formal ritual called for Hackett to dress in morning coat and white tie, and to physically hand over his paperwork to the pope. But the State Department produced a less formal way of introducing Hackett, in the form of a YouTube video. 

Pope Francis talks with Ken Hackett, the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis talks with Ken Hackett, the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

The 1 minute, 49 second video has a casual Hackett telling a bit about himself, explaining some of his connections to Rome, as the longtime head of Catholic Relief Services, and introducing his wife, Joan. It’s subtitled in Italian.

He’s not the only one to get such star treatment. The State Department’s YouTube page is home to many other ambassadorial introduction films as well as pages for individual embassies and foreign missions.

It’s becoming a thing! #capswap

VATICAN CITY — There was a lot of papal cap-swapping at today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

But one audience member was expecting a freebie zucchetto  — without an exchange — as this photo shows, captured by our very own Paul Haring.

The man’s sign says: “Pope, give me your cap as a present.”

Pope leads general audience in St. Peter's Square at Vatican

Pope Francis leads his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 23. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)