| By Teresa Peterson

Baseball Player is Bold about His Faith

During the NCAA College World Series earlier this year, Bennett Lee was on the Wake Forest University baseball team, one of the top four teams in the nation vying to be number one.

After a big victory on June 19, Lee was interviewed on the field by ESPN. Among his comments, Lee said, “trusting in God,” was essential to his success.

Lee, 21, is not afraid to speak about his faith to a national audience or to his teammates. 

“I think it does take some courage. But it just comes down to doing what you know is right and not putting too much energy into what people think,” said Lee.

His Twitter and Instagram bios both include “AMDG,” which is an acronym for the Latin phrase “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” that means “for the greater glory of God.” He learned that phrase while attending Jesuit High School in Tampa, one of the oldest Catholic schools in the region. The origin of the phrase is attributed to the founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola. In fact, it is the Latin motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), a religious community of the Catholic Church.

While a junior at Jesuit, Lee played for the school’s baseball team, the Tigers. He helped lead his team to win the state championship in 2019. One year later, just a few months before graduation, Lee was received into full communion with the Catholic Church during a special Mass at Jesuit. 

An encounter with theology teacher Brian Greenfield’s “Intro to Catholicism” class sparked a desire in Lee’s heart to learn more about the Catholic faith.

“The fire that he spoke with every day in our classes, really lit me up for the faith my freshman year. Then I started to go to Mass more and learn about the Catholic faith, which led me on a journey to becoming Catholic and getting confirmed my senior year,” said Lee. His best friend and baseball teammate at both Jesuit and Wake Forest, star pitcher Camden Minacci, was his confirmation sponsor.

His family was not Catholic, but they supported his interest in becoming Catholic and they attended his Confirmation Mass. Participating in the Mass at the chapel on the campus of Jesuit (the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which was completed in 2018), helped him to encounter Christ’s love in a new way.

“You're receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus, who can then live inside of you and let His light shine through you. There’s so much beauty in this church, I really liked coming to Mass,” Lee said about his time at Jesuit.

Lee is now a professional baseball player as he was drafted in July by the Detroit Tigers in the sixth round. He stepped away from college this summer to pursue this life-changing opportunity. He is currently with the Tigers’ Class A minor league team in nearby Lakeland, the Flying Tigers. 

While being drafted and signing to play professionally was certainly a moment of celebration for Lee and his family, he acknowledges that so much of what happens in baseball and in life is beyond his control.

“You can't control everything. So, being able to have God as the foundation of my life is huge,” said Lee.

“There have been times where this game and life have really humbled me and really taken me down to my knees. Through that, you realize the element of human weakness. Things are out of your control, but there is a God who loves you. Looking to Him, gives you a strong foundation and your true identity,” Lee added.

When asked about being a role model to young people, Lee stays humble in his response.

“I just hope that I am leaving a good impression on them, like the guys who came before me,” said Lee.