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Father Frank Baumert, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Omaha, pitches June 25 at the I-80 Collar Series softball game for vocations at Haymarket Park in Lincoln. Photo by Cathy Blankenau Bender, Southern Nebraska Register.

Vocations clearly the victor in I-80 Collar Series

Priests from the Archdiocese of Omaha edged still closer to a win this year – but more important and as intended, vocations remained the clear victor overall June 25 in the third annual I-80 Collar Series softball game.

The archdiocesan priests’ four-run loss (21-17) to their counterparts in the Diocese of Lincoln was an improvement over a seven-run defeat (22-15) last year and 14-run loss (31-17) in 2015. There’s hope for next year, said Father Kevin Vogel, pastor of St. Boniface Parish in Elgin and St. Bonaventure Parish in Raeville.

“Always you try to win,” he said.

But more important, about 4,000 people came to see the game to support religious vocations and see priests having a good time, Father Vogel said.

“I think it’s important that people be able to encourage their own sons to be open to the call (of priesthood),” he said. “The first proponent of vocations is the family,” he said, and it helps when people see that priesthood is an everyday part of life.

The event at Haymarket Park in Lincoln also raised about $35,000 for vocations, which after expenses will mean about $15,000 going to the vocations offices in each diocese, said Richard Zierke of St. Patrick Parish in Lincoln.

And there will be a rematch next year – the Knights of Columbus State Council will step up to the plate again as series sponsor and schedule a game at the park in Lincoln, said Zierke, a member of Knights Council 13576 and coordinator of this year’s gathering. Spirit Catholic Radio, based in Omaha, sponsored the first two games of the annual event.


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