Each book in our Sports and Faith Series by Patrick McCaskey offers an interesting array of stories and features. In this post, we look at all the Sports and Faith Books!

SPORTS AND FAITH: STORIES OF THE DEVOTED AND THE DEVOUT is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Vice President and  Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field, plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the underserved in extraordinary ways.

Here are the stories of team owners George Halas, Art Rooney and Well Mara, plus inspirational players like Brian Piccolo, Bill Wade, Tim Foley, Brian Cabral, and Danny Abramowicz. Also examined are lives of extraordinary people who decided not to pursue a life of sports because they were tugged in another direction. What’s more, Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout looks at some who simply set out to help those who needed help the most: John Perkins, Ignatius McDermott, and others.

Athletes often face difficult lifestyle choices and moral challenges. Many professional sports teams work with religious men and women to help players and staff continue their spiritual enrichment. The Chicago Bears bring in speakers and inspiring men and women who share their faith and life-lessons with players. According to the author, “We don’t force feed anyone, but faith is fundamental to our caretaking efforts.” The Bears are also involved in many charities that are directed and supported by amazing people from all walks of life. Personal experiences of growing up in an exceptional sports family are also shared. Patrick McCaskey has been at the center of it all. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout takes you out on the streets, into the football fields, up to the podiums and in some instances, on your knees.

SPORTS AND FAITH: MORE STORIES OF THE DEVOTED AND THE DEVOUT includes plenty of stories of great athletes from current professionals like Jeremy Lin and Josh McCown, to legendary athletes like Stan “the Man” Musial and Bob Cousy. We spotlight some great teams with lots of heart and courage. We look at Bob Ladouceur and his De La Salle team that are portrayed in a new motion picture “When the Game Stands Tall.” And we spend some time with people like Tom Monaghan whose huge philanthropic concerns are known throughout the world. We look at the University of Notre Dame, St. Michael’s Norbertine Abbey, and other institutions that have a long religious history. We plunge into a few Bible stories. We take a look at some of the McCaskeys whom you might find interesting. And we included a few McCaskey poems and creative writings.

We also took on some sad developments. In this edition of Sports and Faith we look at the tragedy in Kabul where three brave men, Dr. Jerry Umanos and John and Gary Gabel were killed in cold blood. All three died at the foot of the cross. We also look at the Washington Illinois tornado and the people who helped remediate the sufferings.

And we also look at Burke Masters and Matthew Lightner, promising athletes who have committed to a lifetime of service as priests.

PILGRIMAGE was inspired by modern fascination with places like the Way of Saint James. Many athletes whose achievements are celebrated in this Sports and Faith book have made pilgrimages part of their faith journey. The Holy Land, Rome, Lourdes, Fatima, Assisi, and several other places of interest and their origins are examined. Author and a Chicago Bears Vice President, Patrick McCaskey, has peppered the book with his own poems and narratives on all things McCaskey. The popular author’s own literary and papal pilgrimages are here. McCaskey shares personal episodes that readers will find simple, insightful, and touching. Pilgrimage shares stories of exemplary athletes and others who are successful in sports and life. These writings are often the product of the author’s efforts on behalf of Sports Faith International, an initiative that honors devout athletes and coaches. In Pilgrimage, some of those featured have left sports for religious vocations, a college volleyball star, an Olympic Speed-skater, and a professional (female) football player!

Add to these, stories on coaches, teams, and athletes of all shapes and sizes, including some who have struggled mightily with their sport and their calling. Sports training as a metaphor for religious growth is found throughout. Many faithful Christians use such training to make a difference for the unfortunate, teaching young people, and working tirelessly for others. These efforts are featured. Pilgrimage includes some stories you may not expect: The story of Lou Gehrig, the great Christian gentleman of baseball. EWTN sensation, Bear Woznick, devout Catholic, radio and TV host who challenges people to abandon themselves to God, and live a life in pursuit of God’s will in the boldest, most rewarding way possible. Then there is Mark Philippi, a nationally recognized Strength and Conditioning Coach and Power-lifting champion.

Pilgrimage is a well-rounded offering that helps readers on their own faith journey through the examples of many others. Some readers may not be able to make a life-changing journey across continents and oceans, but this book can give readers some insights and enrichment. For those seeking adventure and travel in their future, here’s a personal introduction.

WORTHWHILE STRUGGLE is the fourth book in the popular Sports and Faith Series. Each chapter is titled after one of the author’s 10 Commandments of Football – principles based on McCaskey’s life with the Chicago Bears, the Halas-McCaskey household, and his own distinctive sense of humor. Struggle is a theme that is clearly seen and understood in sports, which serves as a metaphor and lesson plan for life in the Series.

Our Sports and Faith books courageously offer a wide variety of topics for readers. Like the first three books in the Series, Worthwhile Struggle includes stories of athletes and others who lead exemplary lives. Much of it comes from the personal experiences of the author who has been working for the Chicago Bears for over 40 years. McCaskey attended Catholic Schools, and he has been privileged to keep company with many outstanding people from all faiths – both on and off the field.

At the back end of each chapter, we include the life of a saint. This offering is an enhancement to our faith coverage for our readers. In addition, we have also included 10 quiz questions in each chapter to test our readers – sports knowledge or their patience! We include a chapter of Biblical poems that McCaskey has read in churches in Lake Forest after Mass. Many poems have a humorous twist to them.

SPORTSMANSHIP is the most ambitious book in Patrick McCaskey’s popular Sports and Faith Series. First, readers are treated to a wonderful Chicago Bears Calendar of historical events that celebrate one piece of Bears’ history for each day of the year. Facts surrounding many Bears’ players and their achievements are found here reflecting the hundred year history of the team.

Next, individual chapters feature interesting stories, sports segments, personal reminiscences, faith experiences, and the author’s humorous musings. Reflecting the practice of classic sports journalist memoirs, McCaskey has frequently written about his favorite athletes and coaches. In Sportsmanship, the author adds a new twist to this practice by including a chapter on favorite writers who have inspired him.  Perhaps a surprise for some readers will be the author’s chapter on biblical poems based on the four Gospels.  Towards the end of the volume are McCaskey’s speeches that have been used at social and civil events, motivational presentations to churches and schools, and all types of occasions relating to his passion, the Chicago Bears.

As a Bears’ Vice President who is immersed in community outreach and personal charitable pursuits, McCaskey writes about many exceptional people that he has known along the way. Writing and speaking for many decades, the author is an athlete in his own right whose tastes in literature have influenced his career. McCaskey has always followed his grandfather George Halas’s advice to maintain a positive outlook.  At the same time, readers will recognize his own enthusiasm for respecting those around him and taking time to smile and enjoy himself in his efforts.