Sister and Brother Truth seekers,
I wouldn’t want any of you to think that, just because I lug around the ‘Captain Catholic’ moniker, I’ve deluded myself into thinking that I’m some sort of expert on my religion without ever having troubled myself to earn a degree. Truth is, I got my nick from my wife and she gave it to me — not because I’m particularly holy — but because I have a brain that collects all sorts of nerdy details about the extraneous aspects of our Faith.
For example, today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Sorrows. I didn’t look it up. Remembering Feast Days is just something I do. I don’t claim that remembering dates makes me smart. I don’t claim it makes me pious. It’s just proof that Captain Catholic is a nerd. Such a nerd, in fact, that I know that there’s a church in White Plains NY named Our Lady of Sorrows that is the House of Worship for both Ralph Branca and Mike Torrez.
Well, both Branca and Torrez are former Major League Baseball players. Branca is best remembered for an appearance he made for the Brooklyn (“Wait ’til Next Year”) Dodgers when he surrendered a game ending home run to the Giant’s Bobby Thompson in the 1951 playoff game to decide the National League pennant. Our own Boston (“Curse of the Bambino”) Red Sox trotted Torrez out to start the never-to-be-forgotten 1978 playoff grudge match. Torrez, of course, famously dished up the pitch that light-hitting Yankee infielder Bucky Dent hit out of Fenway Park to decide the game. So, when September 15 comes along I think about baseball — and I think about all the sorrow associated with rooting for Brooklyn or for the Red Sox.
Being a Catholic is all about faith. Being ‘Captain Catholic’ is all about collecting odd factoids to charm, or to bore your friends with.
Turns out that I recently unearthed a particularly juicy factoid that our pastoral associate Mary Peterson already knew but failed to share with me. Poor Mary! She missed her chance to show up Captain Catholic.
As it happens, there’s an alternate spelling for my daughter Liqa’s name. Did you know that? I didn’t! ‘Liqa’ is more common among girls in the Arab countries than it is here in the USA. Even more common, though, is its twin ‘Laikha’ which is a shortened form of Zulaikha.
Well, in the Qur’an, Zulaikha is identified as the Egyptian woman who attempted to seduce Israel’s irresistible super-sexy son Joseph and, when she was rebuffed, complained to her husband Potiphar (who happened to be Joseph’s boss) that Joseph had raped her. Naturally, things got hot for Joseph; but he took it in his stride and came out on top before the final curtain. As you probably know, the same story shows up in the Hebrew scriptures, but Potiphar’s wife isn’t called by name.
Lots of us have Bible names. I certainly do. Maybe you do too. But my daughter has us all beat. She has an unnamed Bible name!
Apparently, there were lots of folks who already knew this — but they waited for me to figure it out for myself.