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Retired baseball star Rivera rebuilds church

Mariano Rivera -- Retired New York Yankee
Mariano Rivera -- Retired New York Yankee
Mariano Rivera -- Retired New York Yankee

Retired New York Yankee, Mariano Rivera, is renovating a New York area church for his wife's ministry.

The always humble and modest Rivera, now 44, has been working on the project quietly, declining to speak about it in advance of the opening.

"You don't do it to be recognized," he said. "You do it because it comes from the heart. You want to please the Lord."

Rivera, who has always credited the Lord for his baseball talent, through his foundation, has poured about $3 million into restoring the 107-year-old church for Refugio de Esperanza, or Refuge of Hope, the Pentecostal Christian congregation led by his wife, Clara.

The Rivera home had been the meeting place for the growing congregation, Rivera told New York Magazine last year, "We only fit like 50 people, 60 people tops."

"We have whites, we have blacks, we have Hispanics," he said. "We have all kinds. It doesn't matter. As long as you love Christ, we in it. And if you don't love him, we will work with you so we put you on the right path."

Brandon Steiner, business partner to Rivera said he's never seen Rivera so focused on a project.

"He was like the general contractor," Steiner said, laughing. "He was in there directing painters."

On Monday, the retired pitcher became recipient of the Jackie Robinson Foundation Humanitarian Award.

The newly renovated church is scheduled to open it's doors today.

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