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Newly ordained priests Father Jesus Guerrero-Rodriguez, Father Michael Hendershott, Father Scott Russell and Father Raymond Powell lie prostrate during their ordination Mass celebrated by Bishop Richard F. Stika June 27 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Photo by Stephanie Richer

Newly ordained priests Father Jesus Guerrero-Rodriguez, Father Michael Hendershott, Father Scott Russell and Father Raymond Powell lie prostrate during the Rite of Ordination and Mass celebrated by Bishop Richard F. Stika June 27 at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Photo by Stephanie Richer

By Jim Wogan

With words of encouragement and a few more on what to expect, Bishop Richard F. Stika ordained four new priests into the Diocese of Knoxville on June 27.

Jesus Guerrero-Rodriguez, Michael Hendershott, Scott Russell and Ray Powell all received their Holy Orders during the Rite of Ordination and Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral.

“We have four new priests. Last year we had four new priests and the year before that we had one. It’s quite an accomplishment for a diocese our size,” Bishop Stika said in remarks near the end of Mass.

More than 50 priests concelebrated the Ordination Mass and nearly 20 deacons from the Diocese of Knoxville were in attendance.

His Eminence, Cardinal Justin Rigali was in choir.

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By Jim Wogan

Our Lady of Fatima parishioner Bryan Steverson shows his new book, Baseball, A Special Gift from God, which connects America's pastime to Christianity and the Catholic faith. Photo by Jim Wogan

Our Lady of Fatima parishioner Bryan Steverson shows his new book, Baseball, A Special Gift from God, which connects America’s pastime to Christianity and the Catholic faith.
Photo by Jim Wogan

Bryan Steverson doesn’t go anywhere, including Mass, without a pen and some three-by-five index cards in his back pocket.

The Virginia native and his wife, Barbara, have been parishioners at Our Lady of Fatima in Alcoa for 30 years. During Mass, Mr. Steverson’s focus is on the celebration, the liturgy, the Eucharist and the message a priest or deacon offers during his homily.

And if part of that message has anything to do with baseball – Mr. Steverson reaches for his cards.

“My wife will get on me. I take notes during the homily,” he said with a laugh.

If anything strikes a chord between the game he loves and his faith, Mr. Steverson is quick to write it down.

“Seriously, at Christmas you hear about Bethlehem being one of the smallest places in Judea. Well, guess what? Henry Aaron was small.”

That quickly, Mr. Steverson places one of the greatest players in baseball history into a side-by-side comparison with one of the greatest villages in Christianity. Both were undersized, perhaps even unappreciated in the beginning, but both became landmarks to the faithful – for different reasons.

Or perhaps, not so different.

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