Helping His Hometown
Growing up on the North Side
of Chicago, Edwin Caraballo '88 became a diehard Chicago Cubs baseball
fan. Now he is a valued member of their team.
Caraballo has been the Cubs'
chaplain since 2003, providing spiritual guidance and encouragement to
players, coaches, and team administrators throughout the season. He also
oversees all of the minor league chaplains in the Cubs organization. After
spending years watching some of his favorite players on television, it
is a whole new ballgame interacting with them away from the cameras.
"My first year was pretty
overwhelming emotionally," Caraballo recalled. "It took a while before
it finally sunk in that I was working with my favorite team. Once the players
began to open up, confide in me, and share their thoughts and feelings,
I started looking at them as brothers instead of star athletes."
Caraballo graduated from
the College with degrees in psychology and theology. He later finished
his master's in social work at Loyola University Chicago. For the past
17 years, he has worked for the Chicago Board of Education, most recently
as a social worker at North Grand High School.
As the Cubs' chaplain, he
leads chapel every Sunday when the team plays at home. He also facilitates
chapel for the visiting team and umpires. On Tuesday evenings, he and his
wife, Luz, lead Bible study for the players' wives and girlfriends. Some
of the topics that Caraballo covers during the sessions, which usually
last 15-20 minutes, are anger, self-control, character and integrity, tithing,
and becoming better husbands and fathers.
"I get paid to be a friend,"
he said. "It doesn't matter if I'm at the ballpark or the high school;
I want to help people grow stronger and more mature in the Lord. I know
that He's using me for that purpose.
"Most people don't understand
the magnitude of the stress that the players endure. They have the same
problems that other people deal with. I do my best to be supportive; I
love them and want to see them grow in the Lord."
The similarities between
his service at Wrigley Field, where the Cubs play their home games, and
his job at North Grand High School are numerous. The people he encounters
have baggage that deal with past problems or present unfavorable circumstances.
Also, he meets resistance in both places, whether it be from players, coaches,
students, or teachers.
"Some of the players and
students I talk to hurt really bad," Caraballo said. "My heart is heavy
for them because they have big burdens to bear. Everyone does not want
to hear the godly, spiritual perspective that I have, and I have to be
sensitive to that, particularly at the school. I don't want to force my
beliefs onto anyone, but the people who know me have a good idea of what
Caraballo and his wife live
in Chicago with their three daughters. They attend Grace and Peace Fellowship
Christian Reformed Church in Chicago.
to Alumni Profiles