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Helmut Schmidt, Published January 30 2014

Archbishop Aquila expected to celebrate Mass with some Denver players, coaches before the big game

DENVER – No one knows for sure whether the one Christians consider the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, is for the Broncos or the Seahawks.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t hedge your bets.

Denver’s Catholic Archbishop Samuel Aquila, a huge Broncos fan and the former bishop of the Fargo Diocese, will reportedly celebrate Mass with a small group of Broncos players and coaches Saturday night before Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. There’s no word on whether Aquila’s vestments will be orange and blue.

Aquila also will attend the game as a guest of Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and his wife, Linda.

“Even when I was Bishop of Fargo, I followed and rooted for the Broncos,” Aquila said in remarks shared by the archdiocese Thursday. “I am sure many people are wondering what I will say to the Broncos in my homily, but all I can say is that the Holy Spirit will guide me as He wishes. What I do know, is that during the game I will be cheering for a Broncos victory!”

Quarterback Peyton Manning, has been a football Moses, guiding the Broncos to the Promised Land. But it may not have hurt that the team also made another Catholic completion last fall.

Linda Del Rio gave Pope Francis an autographed team ball in October.

The Forum tried to contact J. Peter Sartain, the archbishop of Seattle, to find out if the Seahawks can count on any requests for divine intervention on their behalf.

A receptionist said Sartain was new to the Pacific Northwest and still learning the ways of the land of the blue and green birds. Before transferring the call to a public relations guy’s voicemail, she offered this blessing: “Go ’Hawks!”

There’s no word on whether Aquila and Sartain have a side bet on the game, much like mayors, governors and congressman are wont to do. For example, would Aquila have to pony up a box of communion wafers if the Seahawks “Legion of Boom” shuts down Manning?

As a side note: Those of us who’ve suffered through years of ups, downs and rank futility by the Minnesota Vikings, Twins and Timberwolves may wonder if these potential princes of the church are willing to share some of the divine blessings that have flowed to their hometown teams.

Any spare Our Fathers or Hail Marys and general prayers for some decent draft picks or free agents sent this way would help.

Lord knows, we’ve taken care of the lamentations.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583