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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Priest vs. Seminary basketball game returns; pull forward in the priest chain

No future NBA baller would have been on Hardwood for the annual Priests versus Seminary basketball game played Friday at Mater Dei High School.

But the vigor displayed both on the court and in the packed bleachers of the Meruello Athletic Center rivaled the high-stakes games fought at the Holy Court of the Emperors.

After the blessing of Most Rev Kevin Vann, Bishop of the Diocese of Orange, and the national anthem, a game of roundball between the priests of the diocese and the seminary was resumed after a three-year hiatus. Van also bowls the ball for a tip-off.

The crowd, including fellow priests, sisters and parishioners, roared for the entire 40 minutes of the contest, cheering on both teams after every shot.

The series was tied 2–2 in the game, which puts bragging rights on the table for the following year.

The Priests maintained a double-digit lead for most of the game, going on to win 55–39.

Father Brandon Dang, a member of the clergy’s team and one of the organizers of the game, said that the key to victory was “teamwork and talent”, not to mention that many players from the priests’ side were once in the seminary’s squad.

“Win… whatever it may be,” said Dang, who works in the diocese’s business office. “It’s really camaraderie and we’re all here together.”

He said it was the biggest game ever, “people were asking for it and we had to deliver it.”

While the game is about fun, money from ticket sales goes towards ancillary businesses in the diocese.

For the first time, priests and seminarians attended the St. Jean de Lestonac School gymnasium in Tustin in 2015. There were no games in 2019, due to administrative changes and then the coronavirus forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 games.

“It’s beautiful to be out here,” said Father. Wayne Edzer of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Fountain Valley.

Adazar, who played high school and college basketball in the Philippines, drilled two three-pointers against seminarians.

“Hopefully, this will inspire the youth to enter religious life,” he said of the night’s fun. “It’s a business campaign. That’s what we’re trying to do. It’s to let them know that priests have a funny side.”

Seminarian Cole Buzon, who was playing in the matchup for the third time, said that the priests shot well and committed more fouls.

Buzon also admitted that Seminary could have played better defense and scored more shots.

“It’s always great to have priests and seminarians together because parishioners get to see a kind of dynamic between priests and seminarians that they don’t see regularly,” Buzon said. “It’s so solid to hear the crowds here cheering for the priests and seminarians.”

During halftime, Sister Mary Andre and Sister Miriam, both teachers at Jessera Catholic High School, participated in a shooting competition.

Sister Marie Andre, a former high school basketball player, fired four three-pointers in under 30 seconds.

She said that she and her fellow sisters sometimes play pickup games.

“It’s so fun,” she said, “to see all the people coming out to support the businesses.”

World Nation News Desk
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