December 5, 2017 // Local

Priest vs. seminarian roundball classic comes to South Bend

St. John Paul II once wrote that priests are called to be “Men of Communion.” Priests are to be a bridge between God and man, and also between men. This requires that they have an authentic understanding of God and human nature: and in Indiana, human nature often leads to the basketball court.

The priests of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend know that God and Hoosiers alike love basketball, which is why the 4th annual Cupertino Classic Priests vs. Seminarians basketball game will be played on Dec. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at Saint Joseph High School in South Bend. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is free, and all are welcome. 

The Cupertino Classic began when a priest of the diocese had breakfast with three seminarians in 2014 to plan a friendly game of basketball that would build fraternity among the present and future diocesan clergy. The game was going to begin simply, but once the Catholic media was alerted and a friend set up an event on social media, the Catholic community showed up with enthusiasm.

The games have been played at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Fort Wayne, with 400 people in attendance; Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne, with 1,800 people in attendance; and Bishop Luers High School, Fort Wayne, with 1,000 people in attendance. For the first time, this year the game will move to the South Bend area.

The priest team has won every game. But, the seminarians see a window of opportunity, as some of the new seminarians have brought with them some talent. However, the daylight may fade for the team after this year, because even as they add some new talent, five seminarians will be ordained this spring. Will the seminarians seize their moment, especially as some of the priest talent is reaching their upper 30s? It remains to be seen.

The priest team will consist of Fathers Matthew Coonan, Jacob Runyon, Terrence Coonan, Andrew Budzinski, Jason Freiburger, Eric Burgener, David Violi, Zak Berry, Ben Muhlenkamp, Jonathan Norton and Andrew Curry. The seminarian team includes Dominic Garrett, Nick Monnin, Joe Knepper, Ben Landrigan, Vince Faurote, Zane Langenbrunner, Daniel Niezer, Jake Schneider and Brian Florin.

Rumor has it that Father Jacob Meyer and seminarian Bobby Krisch will be on the mic as the evening’s emcees, and that Msgr. Michael Heintz will head up the referee squad.

Both teams excitedly encourage the South Bend faith community to join in this faith-filled experience and to come to the Cupertino Classic to praise Jesus for the gift of the Catholic Christian faith and community, for the “Men of Communion” in this diocese, and for the good things in life, such as roundball. Come and experience the surprising talent, competition and humor of the Cupertino Classic. 

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