Fr Chuck Dornquast

Episode 16

20 MAY 2019

The team priest for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he also played football himself in high school.  He was just ordained four years ago and is currently at St. Lawrence in Tampa, Florida.  He talks about what his role with the team entails as well as how he juggles that with his responsibilities to his parish.  Plus he tells the story of his favorite moment from being on the sidelines.

Guest Quotes:

“I’m a large guy but apparently I’m too friendly to be aggressive on the football field.”

“I showed up at my parish, which is right near where the Buccaneers have their training facility and one of their key staff members is actually a parishioner here at the parish and he came to Mass one Sunday and asked the pastor if we’d be interested in providing a priest to celebrate Mass for the team.  And my pastor saw my eyes light up at the opportunity of celebrating Mass for the NFL Buccaneers and graciously offered it to me.”

“(team priest) typically goes to a seasoned guy or an experienced guy.  Many priests were baffled that it somehow found a way to fall to me.”

“I spend a lot of time with the (Buccaneers players) in meals and try to give them that ministry of presence with many of them.  They work on the typical days that Catholics connect to their parish.  And so their depth of relationship to their own parish community or to a particular priest doesn’t happen because, well, they’re busy entertaining the rest of us.  And so that’s my role, is, to give them that connection to the church.”

“My first assignment is to the parish.  That’s my first duty, my first obligation.  So, our parish Mass schedule comes first.”

“We’re… five minutes from Raymond James Stadium… So, there have been times in which I’ve celebrated the 12:30 Mass and finished Mass at 1:30, 1:35, and be on the field by 2:00.  And, so, I only miss the first quarter of the game.”

“I can be in the middle of the third quarter, on the sidelines, cheering and rooting for the team, and all the stuff going on, and then five, ten minutes later be in the confessional preparing for the 5:00 Mass.”

“What I’ve discovered, at least here in Tampa Bay, the majority of these guys are tremendous men, high quality, with tremendous love, deep faith, and they attempt to live that out in many ways.”

“Jesus Christ came to dwell in our midst and to be with us… I think for a lot of these guys their faith is what keeps them stable and balanced.”

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