Catholic Athletes for Christ
The First Name in Catholic Sports Ministry

    CAC’s Comments on Recent Passing of MLB Scout Gary Hughes

    September 21, 2020, 9:54 am

    From CAC founder/president Ray McKenna, “Our dear friend and renowned MLB scout Gary Hughes passed away on Saturday. Beyond his many contributions to scouting and the game, Gary was a devout Catholic and almost always the first attendee at our annual CAC Masses at the Baseball Winter Meetings. While Gary was one of the best scouts of all time who played a key role in the signings of Rondell White, Cliff Floyd, Delino DeShields, Marquis Grissom, and even NFL great John Elway, he was an even better human being.  Our CAC MLB priest-chaplains will offer Masses for the repose of Gary’s soul this week and please keep him and his family in your prayers.”

    CAC, Washington Nationals Featured on St. John Paul II National Shrine Virtual Webinar “Pray Ball!”

    June 2, 2020, 4:05 pm

    On June 1, Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) and the Washington Nationals were featured on a virtual webinar called “Pray Ball!”, hosted by the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C.

    CAC’s president and founder Ray McKenna and Washington Nationals pitching coach Paul Menhart discussed Catholicism in baseball and CAC’s Mass ministry program, which is responsible for hosting Catholic Masses for players, coaches, broadcasters, team officials, scouts, etc., during the major league baseball season.

    CAC hosted 355 Catholic Masses at MLB stadiums during the 2019 regular season, playoffs, and World Series (see table below highlighting CAC’s efforts over the past seven years in increasing its Mass ministry in MLB).

    CAC Offers Condolences on the Recent Passing of HOF Football Coach Don Shula

    May 8, 2020, 2:11 pm

    Don Shula (January 4, 1930 – May 4, 2020) 

    All of us at Catholic Athletes for Christ would like to express our sincerest condolences to the family of the legendary Don Shula who died yesterday at age 90. We wish to specifically send our sympathy to his son Mike Shula of the Denver Broncos who is a good friend and long-time CAC supporter. Mike’s strong faith and stellar integrity are shining examples of his dad’s legacy both in the game and beyond football. 

    Don Shula’s Hall of Fame resume, which includes an NFL record 347 wins including two super victories and an undefeated 1972 season, is well-known among all of us. His strong Catholic faith and sterling character have received much less coverage in the media, but those who knew him best believe they were the foundation stones of his success.  Shula actually considered the priesthood before he embarked on his legendary NFL career, and all through the course of his life he was a faithful Catholic who often attended daily Mass during the peak of the season. In Miami, where he spent the last 50 years, Don Shula became a local hero beyond his on-field exploits. Coach Shula and his wife Mary Anne were generous benefactors for the Miami community, especially for the Catholic Church and schools in the Miami area.

    Noted sports journalist Brian Golden shared with us his personal recollections of Coach Shula including being right behind him when he received a call from then-President Ronald Reagan. Despite Shula’s high-level connections, Golden’s most poignant remembrance of Shula was his deep and abiding love for his children and grandchildren. Despite his no nonsense on field persona, Golden recalls how Shula publically downplayed the sentiment of the historic nature of the first-ever father-son game against his son David’s Cincinnati Bengals, characterizing it as a “business meeting.”  Yet Golden vividly remembers that once the Miami bus arrived in Cincinnati, Shula left his bags in the locker room and quietly headed straight to David’s house to play with his grandkids.    

    Our priests will be offering Masses for the repose of his soul. Please remember Coach Shula in your prayers today and throughout this season.

    Thank you and best regards in Christ,

    Ray McKenna

    MLB Legendary Broadcaster Vin Scully Provides Encouragement and Optimism During COVID-19

    April 20, 2020, 11:00 am

    Legendary Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster and Mass reader at CAC’s L.A. Dodgers Mass Vin Scully recently offered some reassuring words about America’s great resilience and encouraged the nation to spend more time in prayer in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, many Catholics have relied on CAC’s Rosary CD recording, featuring Vin Scully, over the past several weeks during COVID-19. For more information on ordering a copy of the Rosary CD, visit

    Here is Scully’s message:

    CAC Arlington Diocese Courage Awards Reception Postponded due to COVID-19

    April 13, 2020, 11:36 am

    The CAC Arlington Diocese Courage Awards Reception, scheduled for Sunday, April 26, 2020, has been postponed due to COVID-19.

    The 2020 Courage Award recipient, former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tom Carroll, will receive the award when the event is rescheduled. The reception will also honor a male and female senior student-athlete at the Catholic high schools and colleges in the Arlington Diocese.

    CAC’s Professional Football Ministry Continues to Grow

    February 24, 2020, 12:17 pm

    This week in Indianapolis, Catholic Athletes for Christ’s (CAC’s) NFL Chaplains will provide daily Mass, Confession, and spiritual direction to NFL coaches, general managers, scouts. and other NFL personnel in attendance at the annual NFL Scouting Combine, which is a showcase for top collegiate draft eligible players.  It will mark the 14th consecutive year of CAC’s Scouting Combine Ministry and is one of the pillars of its NFL ministry, which is focused on assuring all NFL teams have access to the sacraments during the season.  

    Additionally, Fr. J.D. Jaffe, who oversees CAC’s NFL chaplaincy program, recently celebrated Mass for the new XFL football league and its New York team, the Guardians. Guardians’ Head Coach Kevin Gilbride had been an active member of CAC’s NFL ministry when he served for many years as the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants. Father Jaffe was impressed by the reverence and respect demonstrated shown by all the Mass attendees even in the midst of their busy pre-game routine.  

    Redskins Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio alongside CAC’s President/Founder Ray McKenna following Ash Wednesday Mass at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on February 26, 2020

    St. John Bosco, Mater Dei, St. Thomas Aquinas Remain at Top of CAC’s Week 6 Top 25 Catholic High School Football Poll

    October 11, 2019, 4:24 pm

    CAC’s High School Chapter Program in Trenton (NJ) Receives Praise for Impact on Student-Athletes

    October 11, 2019, 4:11 pm

    CAC was recently featured in the Trenton Monitor about its high school chapter program that is positively impacting student-athletes at the diocesan high schools in Trenton (NJ). Click here to read the article!

    CAC Top 25 Catholic High School Football Preseason Poll Released for 2019

    August 19, 2019, 8:27 pm

    For the third straight year, the top Catholic high school football teams have a special national ranking. The Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) Top 25 Catholic High School Football Poll, presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football, is out for the 2019 season.

    In 2018, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) was named the CAC Top 25 National Champions for 2018.  The Monarchs, who also won the CAC National Championship in 2017, reigned supreme throughout the season and bounced back from their one on-field loss to No. 2 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) to win the sectional title enroute to the CIF Open Division Bowl Game championship.

    Check out the 2019 Top 25 preseason poll (2018 records shown):

    1. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (13-1)
    2. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (13-2)
    3. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (10-0)
    4. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (9-1)
    5. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (13-2)
    6. St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J. (10-2)
    7. Saint Louis School, Honolulu, Hawaii (11-0)
    8. Eastside Catholic, Sammamish, Wash. (13-1)
    9. Archbishop Hoban, Akron, Ohio (15-0)
    10. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia (13-0)
    11. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C (9-3)
    12. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas (11-3)
    13. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (12-1)
    14. DeMatha Catholic, Hyattsville, Md. (8-3)
    15. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (10-2)
    16. JSerra Catholic, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (9-3)
    17. St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, N.J. (7-4)
    18. St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (11-3)
    19. Salpointe Catholic, Tucson, Ariz. (13-1)
    20. Nazareth Academy, LaGrange Park, Ill. (12-1)
    21. Cardinal Gibbons, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (13-2)
    22. Central Catholic, Pittsburgh, Pa. (7-4)
    23. Cathedral Prep, Erie, Pa. (13-3)
    24. Bishop Dunne, Dallas, Texas (11-3)
    25. Bishop Kelley, Tulsa, Okla. (10-3)

    Follow the CAC Top 25 through social media at and on Twitter @CACTop25. 

    Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) Wins Second Consecutive CAC Top 25 Catholic High School Football National Championship; Tim McFarlin of Blessed Trinity (Roswell, Ga.) Wins CAC National Coach of the Year

    January 3, 2019, 8:29 pm

    For the second straight year, the Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) Top 25 Catholic High School Football Poll, presented by Siena Heights University and Global Football, crowns top-ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) as the CAC Top 25 National Champions for 2018.  The Monarchs reigned supreme throughout the season and bounced back from their one on-field loss to No. 2 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) to win the sectional title enroute to the CIF Open Division Bowl Game championship.

    Overall, CAC Top 25 teams accounted for 18 state or postseason conference championships and two wins in the GEICO Bowl Series.

    Additionally, Blessed Trinity (Roswell, Ga.) head coach Tim McFarlin has been named the 2018 CAC Top 25 Catholic High School Football Coach of the Year.

    McFarlin and his Titans completed a remarkable season after defeating Cartersville, 23-9, for the program’s second straight Georgia Class AAAA state championship on December 12. The victory upped Blessed Trinity’s season record to a perfect 15-0 and 90-18-1 in nine seasons since McFarlin was hired.

    McFarlin was chosen from among all Catholic high school football coaches across the nation by a panel that includes representatives of CAC Top 25 presenting sponsors Siena Heights University and Global Football, and ranking coordinator Christopher Lawlor.

    “This award is for our entire football program and it is such an honor to be recognized,” said McFarlin. “Blessed Trinity is a wonderful place to coach. I came here after thirty years in public schools and it’s been an awesome experience. I’ve really enjoyed following the CAC Top 25 rankings this year and the football is at this level is competitive, so we consider ourselves very proud to be included in the ranking.”

    Global Football president Patrick Steenberge said, “I want to congratulate Tim McFarlin on his recognition as the CAC Top 25 coach of the year for 2018. Tim has done an amazing job building Blessed Trinity into a statewide and national powerhouse in a few short years. I got to know Tim ahead of the Titans’ Ireland trip in 2016 and found him to be a dedicated, highly-motivated, student-athlete focused mentor, who always has the best intentions for his kids. He is a great example of the positive high school coaching across America.”

    In the last six seasons, McFarlin shepherded the move from Class AA to AAA to AAAA. In that stretch, the veteran coach is 65-6-1 with the two state crowns.

    “There was a lot more pressure on us this year,” added McFarlin. “Last year we were under the radar and there were two or three programs expected to win and we were ranked fifth or six. This year, it was Blessed Trinity who were the favorites to win and we were ranked number one in the state from week one. I’m fortunate to have a veteran staff and we talked about how we would deal with that expectation. As much as possible, we tried to ignore it, but that’s easier said than done.”

    McFarlin’s team was at a disadvantage in the state final when he decided to sit Notre Dame-bound defensive ace JD Bertrand, who injured his knee in the state semifinals.

    “We had to deal with injuries and that threw a lot of uncertainty into the game, but the kids who stepped up responded especially well and took responsibility,” McFarlin explained.

    Cartersville entered the game beaten in 14 games and averaging over 38 points. McFarlin’s defense held the Hurricanes to a season-low point total and flustered their offense with an array of looks and fronts as Cartersville failed to score a TD for the first time in four seasons.

    2018 Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) Top 25 Final Rankings / January 2, 2019

    1. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif. (13-2) ! # *
    2. St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif. (13-1)2
    3. St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, Pa. (13-0)*
    4. Archbishop Hoban, Akron, Ohio (15-0)*
    5. De La Salle, Concord, Calif. (12-1)
    6. Saint Louis School, Honolulu, Hawaii (11-0)*
    7. St. Frances Academy, Baltimore, Md. (10-0)
    8. Blessed Trinity, Roswell, Ga. (15-0)*
    9. St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (13-2)
    10. Christian Brothers College, St. Louis, Mo. (12-1)*
    11. Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas, Nev. (11-3)*
    12. Charlotte (N.C.), Catholic (15-1)*
    13. Gonzaga, Washington, D.C. (9-3)*
    14. St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J. (10-2)*
    15. St. John’s College, Washington, D.C. (9-1)
    16. Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. (10-2)
    17. Chaminade-Madonna College Prep, Hollywood, Fla. (12-2)*
    18. Eastside Catholic, Sammamish, Wash. (13-1)*
    19. Cardinal Gibbons, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (13-2)*
    20. Xavier, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (13-0)*
    21. Columbus, Miami, Fla. (14-1) @
    22. St. Edward, Lakewood, Ohio (11-3)*
    23. Nazareth Academy, LaGrange Park, Ill. (13-1)*
    24. Dowling Catholic, West Des Moines, Iowa (11-2)*
    25. Cathedral Prep, Erie, Pa. (13-3)*

    ! Catholic Athletes for Christ Top 25 National Champions

    * Won a state or conference postseason championship

    # Includes a forfeit loss

    @ Includes a forfeit win

    Special Consideration: Bishop Dunne (Dallas, Texas)*; Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)*; Catholic Memorial (Waukesha, Wis.)*; Skutt Catholic (Omaha, Neb.)*; Calvert Hall College (Baltimore, Md.)*; St. John’s Prep (Danvers, Mass.)*; St. Thomas Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.)*; De La Salle Collegiate (Warren, Mich.)*; Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.)*; JSerra Catholic (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.); McGill-Toolen (Mobile, Ala.); DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.); Memorial (Evansville, Ind.); Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.); Trinity Catholic (St. Louis, Mo.)*; Bishop Dwenger (Fort Wayne, Ind.)*; Marist (Atlanta, Ga.); St. Joseph (Trumbull, Conn.)*; Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.); Malvern (Pa.) Prep; Strake Jesuit (Houston, Texas); Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic*; Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.); Marist (Chicago, Ill.); St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.); Conwell-Egan (Fairless Hills, Pa.); St. John Vianney (St. Louis, Mo.)*; Aquinas Institute (Rochester, N.Y.)*; San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno, Calif.); Bishop Amat (La Puente, Calif.); Mount Carmel (Chicago, Ill.); Bishop Chatard (Indianapolis, Ind.); St. Anthony’s (South Huntington, N.Y.); Clearwater (Fla.); Catholic (Baton Rouge, La.); Brother Rice (Chicago, Ill.); Covington Catholic (Park Hills, Ky.) and St. Pius X Catholic (Atlanta, Ga.).

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