What do church and baseball have in common? Probably, not too much.
But the two will come together Sunday, when Blair County Ballpark will host its third annual Faith Day.
Sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Faith Day will begin at 3 p.m. with a Catholic Mass at the stadium celebrated by Bishop Mark Bartchak before an expected crowd of 500.
Faith-based activities will be set up on the concourse and family activities will be available around the stadium. Parishioners will take part in a parade around the bases.
The Curve game will start at 6 p.m. with Father Brian Saylor singing the national anthem and Bartchak throwing out the first pitch.
"We always say that Jesus went out and met with people where they gathered," said Tony DeGol, spokesman for the diocese. "We just want to celebrate our faith and doing it in this kind of venue really attracts a lot of people. Blair County Ballpark is a wonderful venue."
Although Faith Day is sponsored by the diocese, it is open to everyone who buys a ticket to the game.
"It's not exclusionary. They welcome people of all faiths," said Rob Egan, Curve general manager. "We feel this is something that is appropriate in our community. We're pleased to work with the diocese on this, celebrate a day of faith and enjoy a ballgame."
The event started in 2009 and was prompted by a former diocesan youth and campus minister as a way of reaching out to young people.
The first year, Faith Day was held on a Friday night and predominantly was attended by older Catholics. Last year, Faith Day was moved to Saturday, which attracted more people.
Sunday is expected to attract families because it most likely won't conflict with work, summer camps or sports activities.
The response so far been great with parishioners buying blocks of tickets so they can sit together, said Francine Swope, coordinator of youth ministry, religious education and sacramental prep for the diocese.
More priests will be able to attend because the celebration will not interfere with their parish Mass schedules.
They will assist Bartchak with Mass and take part in other activities, including preparing welcome messages that will air on the Jumbotron.
"We want to make sure people that come to the game know it's our night. We are trying to weave little things throughout the night," DeGol said.
"It is a chance to not be 'show-offy' about it, but to show we do have a good strong Christian tradition," Swope said. "We want to share it with other faiths out there."
It's also an opportunity for people to attend a Mass celebrated by the bishop, who was ordained and installed in April.
"A lot of people want to attend one of his Masses. It's a great opportunity for the bishop to interact with people," DeGol said.
He said the bishop is looking forward to the event.
"He's a big baseball fan," DeGol said.
Tickets for the Curve game against the Bowie Baysox and festivities are the same price as regular game tickets. Anyone attending the Mass must purchase a ticket to the game to enter the park.