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Before anyone ever heard of ESPN’s Top Ten Sports Bloopers, there were the wildly popular, weekly compilations of Zip Rzeppa’s Zippo Awards: “The best, the worst, and the weirdest moments in professional sports!” An entertaining and innovative sportscaster, Zip’s career stretches from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Saginaw, Michigan to Cincinnati, Boston, and finally Saint Louis where he was a regular TV personality from 1984 – 2001.

Mother of Media 

Some of his most cherished professional moments are writing the song, Ballad of the Bengals, for the Cincinnati Bengals football team who made it to the Super Bowl in 1981, and covering the 1985 and 1987 World Series with the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Always a practicing Catholic, Zip’s faith deepened when he began door-to-door evangelization with the Society of Our Mother of Peace in the most dangerous neighborhoods of Saint Louis. He was also deeply involved in the Metropolitan Employment & Rehabilitation Service (MERS) to help people with mental and physical disabilities. MERS and Missouri Goodwill merged in 2001.

For A Greater Purpose 

Zip has penned a book about his life, For A Greater Purpose. It is published by Mater Media, a publishing house he founded. Mater (Mah-tair) is the Latin word for Mother. As Mater Dei means “The Mother of God,” Mater Media means “The Mother of Media.” The apostolate of Mater Media is consecrated to the Mother of God, Our Blessed Mother.

This is the beautiful Mater Media Prayer that he coauthored: "Blessed Virgin Mary, I cover myself with your protection. Defend me and all your children, from everything that would harm our souls! Mary, Mother of Media, please ask your son, Jesus, to fill me with the light of His love to overcome the darkness in our world. Amen."

An excerpt from the book’s back cover gives us a glimpse into his incredible life: In an amazing true story, Zip Rzeppa’s life connects with media superstars Bill O’Reilly — and Howard Stern — and Joe Buck — before any of them ever appear on TV.  Grit and determination bring Zip his own fame as he becomes the wackiest local TV sportscaster in America.

True Love 

Longing for love, Zip ricochets from redheads to reporters to runners, from friends to flings to fiancées until he finally finds the woman who shows him every moment matters.

Inspired, Zip drops the microphone and rolls up his sleeves to serve those in sheltered workshops, inner city dwellings, and foster homes.  Finally, a miracle from Our Lady of Guadalupe delivers Zip a new calling to use his media savvy to feed today’s spiritually-starved souls.

With echoes of St. Augustine’s The Confessions and Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain, For A Greater Purpose is the heartbreaking and triumphant saga of a dynamic 21st century man who discovers that the purpose of life is written in the Palm of God’s Hand.

That miracle from Our Lady of Guadalupe? Long story short, for Angels’ Arms, a collection of foster homes for children, Zip raised $700,000 in 15 days through the intercession of Our Lady. It’s absolutely true, but the full story is just too good to give away!

Free Book Copies

However, speaking of giveaways, here is another story too good to be true. To receive a FREE copy of For A Greater Purpose, no strings attached, send in your request online through the Mater Media website, www.matermedia.org/shop. Or, simply call (314) 807-8591.

Written for adults in general, men in particular will appreciate this book because Zip speaks honestly about two addictions that plague the lives of many men, gambling and pornography. The antidote to pornography, by the way, is Pope Saint John Paul II’s classic teaching on the sacred beauty of human sexuality popularly known as the Theology of the Body.

When Zip was asked if he could reach the world, in one sentence, what would the message be? His response was quick and sincere: “To receive God’s love and return it to Him with all that we are, is what life is all about.”

Spoken like a man with a greater purpose. God bless you, Zip!

+JMJ+

© Original article published in The Messenger magazine from the Missionaries of the Holy Family, Saint Louis, Missouri. All rights reserved.

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