The 2017 Houston Astros are one of the best teams in Major League Baseball.
Clearly, that has a lot to do with talent and teamwork. But Annunciation Catholic Church volunteers say a prayer or two doesn’t hurt.
The 150-year old church sits at the intersection of Texas and Crawford, right across the street from Minute Maid Park. The oldest catholic church in Houston is in major need of an update. It doesn’t even have indoor bathrooms.
But there isn’t enough money in the budget to cover the repairs. Church members are in the middle of a $2 million campaign. They’ve received all but $200,000 in donations so far.
“This is the crossroads where faith meets sports,” said Elsie Hernandez who works for the church.
Hernandez and a team of volunteers stand outside the church behind a fold-out table that displays dozens of rosaries. The set-up happens before each home game.
“And so we’re hoping to encourage people to pray,” Hernandez said.
The prayer beads are orange and blue, the colors of the Astros.
“We always stop at the church when we come to the Astros games,” said Noah West, who traveled with his family from Palacios, Texas, to attend the Thursday afternoon game. The West family purchased a rosary that ranges in price from $5 to $120, based on the materials used.
Noah said he prayed, “for our team to win!”
“Sometimes we’ve sold out. It’s been really exciting. When it’s a slow day, it seems like the Astros don’t do as well. But the day we sold the most rosaries, we beat the Rangers, 11-2," Hernandez said.
On Thursday, volunteers sold only four rosaries. The Houston Astros lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-0.
The church is also selling raffle tickets for a signed Craig Biggio bat.
“Oh! They love it! They love it! You know, it’s unique. Nobody’s doing this,” said Hernandez of the church’s fundraising effort. “Hey! You gotta do everything you can. And what’s it going to hurt to pray?”
Volunteers plan to sell the Astros-themed rosaries for the rest of the season. They begin selling the prayer beads 2 hours before the start of each game.