Originally published on www.espn.com
Now that he’s retired, Mariano Rivera says he misses spring training and his Yankees teammates, but baseball doesn’t compare to doing God’s work.
“The baseball field is one thing. We won championships,” Rivera said Thursday after the dedication of a once-crumbling church his foundation restored. “But this is totally on another level. This is to hopefully bring families closer to the Lord. … Changing people’s lives, that’s what counts.”
The legendary reliever’s foundation poured about $3 million into the 107-year-old church for Refugio de Esperanza, or Refuge of Hope, the Pentecostal Christian congregation led by his wife, Clara.
“It has been a privilege to fulfill a dream that God put in our hearts,” Rivera told the crowd of about 350 during an exuberant, bilingual, music-and-Scripture-filled celebration. Sunlight, filtered through new stained glass windows, provided a golden glow beneath the church’s old but restored ceiling timbers…