I will cast aside all notions of impartiality for this blog. My hometown team, the New Orleans Saints are headed to the Superbowl. I (along with with all native born New Orleanians) could not be more proud. In fact we are ecstatic.
There are firm Catholic roots attached to the New Orleans Saints. When the first owner wanted to name the team, he approached then Archbishop Philip Hannan. The Archbishop had no objection to the name, but warned the owner that in the New Testament "many saints were martyrs." The martyrdom has predominated for more than 40 years. But not this year.
As the Saints head to the Superbowl, a friend from home, Mimi Kelly sent me this prayer composed by Archbishop Hannan. It is a prayer for the Saints. We will all be praying it regularly in the coming days, and a few more supplications couldn't hurt. So join in. Geaux Saints!
(Delivered by Most Reverend Philip M. Hannan at the first Saints and Sinners Banquet, 1968.)
God, we have asked your blessing upon all who participate in this event, and all who have supported our Saints. Our heavenly Father, who has instructed us that the "saints by faith conquered kingdoms. . . and overcame lions", grant our Saints an increase of faith and strength so that they will not only overcome the Lions, but also the Bears, the Rams, the Giants, and even those awesome people in Green Bay. May they continue to tame the Redskins, and fetter the Falcons as well as the Eagles (AND ESPECIALLY THE COLTS!). Give to our owners and coaches the continued ability to be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves, so that no good talent will dodge our draft.
Grant to our fans perseverance in their devotion and unlimited lung power, tempered with a sense of charity to all, including the referees. May our beloved "Bedlam Bowl" be a source of good fellowship and may the "Saints Come Marching In" be a victory march for all, now and in eternity. AMEN.
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