A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 20, 2008
Sermon on the Mound (Pope delivering Mass at Yankee Stadium)

Pope Paul VI gave Mass at Yankee Stadium in October 1965. It was quickly called the “Sermon on the Mound”—a linguistic borrowing from the “Sermon on the Mount.”

Pope John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 also gave Mass at Yankee Stadium, and these were also dubbed a “Sermon on the Mound.”


Wikipedia: Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount was, according to the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7, a particular sermon given by Jesus of Nazareth (estimated around AD 30) on a mountainside to his disciples and a large crowd.

The best-known written portions of the open-air sermon comprise the Beatitudes, found at the beginning of the section. The Sermon also contains the Lord’s Prayer and the injunctions to “resist not evil” and “turn the other cheek”, as well as Jesus’ version of the Golden Rule. Other lines often quoted are the references to “salt of the Earth,” “light of the world,” and “judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Many Christians believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a form of commentary on the Ten Commandments. To many, the Sermon on the Mount contains the central tenets of Christian discipleship, and is considered as such by many religious and moral thinkers, such as Tolstoy, Gandhi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Luther King, Jr..

Wikipedia: Sermon on the Mound
The Sermon on the Mound is the name given by the Scottish press to an address made by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on 21 May 1988. The name is a play on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and on the artificial hill in Edinburgh called The Mound on which the Church’s Assembly Hall stands.

Wikipedia: Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium is a baseball stadium in New York City that is the home of the New York Yankees, a Major League baseball team. Located at East 161st Street and River Avenue in The Bronx, it has hosted Yankees home games since 1923 and has a capacity of 57,545. It was formerly the home of the New York Giants football team, and once hosted dozens of boxing’s most famous fights.

Yankee Stadium is one of the most famous sports venues in the United States, due to its primary occupants having won more World Series championships than any other team. Its nickname, “The House that Ruth Built”, comes from the iconic Babe Ruth, the baseball superstar whose prime years coincided with the beginning of the Yankees’ winning history.

In 2006, the Yankees began construction on a new $1.3 billion stadium in public parkland adjacent to Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are expecting to open their new home in 2009. Once the new stadium opens, most of the old stadium, including all of the above ground structure, is to be demolished to become parkland.
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Francis Cardinal Spellman (1957), Pope Paul VI (1965), and Pope John Paul II (1969 as a cardinal, 1979 as pope) and Pope Benedict XVI (2008) all celebrated Mass at the ballpark.

7 August 1978, Gavleston (TX) Daily News, “Pope Dies,” pg. 2A, col. 2:
Pope Paul followed that trip with another to North America—the first pontiff to visit the New World—where he visited the New York World’s Fair and preached at Yankee Stadium—the so-called “Sermon on the Mound.”

4 June 1979, New York (NY) Times, pg. A11:
In 1965, Paul visited the New York World’s Fair and celebrated an outdoor mass at Yankees Stadium. His homily from the pitcher’s mound was immediately called the “Sermon on the Mound.”

21 July 1979, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “Pope John Paul II to visit U.S.,” pg. 11A, col. 4:
Pope Paul VI addressed the United Nations in a 14-hour visit in October, 1965. He also visited the Vatican pavilion at the New York World’s Fair.and celebrated mass at a packed Yankee Stadium, an event that became known as the “Sermon on the Mound.”

Guardian (April 20, 2008)
Pope hits home run with faithful at NY Yankee Stadium
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK, April 20 (Reuters) - New York’s Yankee Stadium is considered hallowed ground by some baseball fans, but on Sunday it hosted another kind of faithful as thousands of Catholics flocked to hear Pope Benedict celebrate Mass.
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A choir sang from behind home plate, while the altar for the Mass—held amid tight security—was positioned over second base. The visit marked the third time a pope has celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Pope Paul VI delivered the first Mass by a Roman Catholic pontiff in America in 1965 at the stadium, and Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in the Bronx in 1979.

Benedict became the third pope to deliver what has come to be known as “the sermon on the mound,” a term coined after the 1965 Mass here when the papal altar was near the spot where the pitcher throws the ball.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNames/Phrases • (0) Comments • Sunday, April 20, 2008 • Permalink