MSU Bulldog, Father Burke Masters to headline Journey of Hope dinner, luncheon

JACKSON – Catholic Charities is pleased to welcome Father Burke Masters to this year’s Journey of Hope meet-and-greet on Monday, Nov. 6 at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and then to the Journey of Hope lunch the following day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, at the Jackson convention complex.
The two-day Journey of Hope event is one of the biggest fund-raisers staged by Catholic Charities every year. The Monday evening meet-and-greet is $25 per person and runs from 6-8 p.m. This gathering gives people a chance to get up close with the speaker and get a preview of the luncheon event. The lunch starts at noon and is free to anyone. Table captains host attendees, inviting them to make an offering at the end of the program. Michael Thomas, development director for Catholic Charities makes the promise every year to keep the event to an hour so working people can always attend.
Father Masters has strong ties to Mississippi – he was part of the Mississippi State Bulldog baseball team that played in the College World Series and was nominated as one of the top student athletes in the college’s history. His vocation story is unusual since he was not raised Catholic. According to an interview he gave to Our Sunday Visitor in 2016, he went to a Catholic high school in his home state of Illinois because it offered strong academics and the opportunity to further his ambition of becoming a professional baseball player.
Father Masters became Catholic his senior year of high school, but continued to pursue baseball, earning accolades throughout his college career. God, it would seem, had other plans. He played for one professional team, tried his hand at team management and then went into the business world. He had a girlfriend and was living what he thought was a pretty normal life. He told OSV his call to the priesthood started when his girlfriend took him to Eucharistic adoration for the first time. He describes it as God’s gentle, persistent call.
After seminary, he worked in parishes in the Diocese of Joliet, Ill. Now, he is on the vocations team, helping other young men respond to God’s call to the priesthood. He also serves as the chaplain to the Chicago Cubs so he can stay connected to his love for baseball.
Tickets for the meet-and-greet are still available as are positions for table captains and seats at the luncheon. Contact Julie O’Brien at 601-326-3758 to purchase or reserve a place at both events.