Father Peter Gallagher, a pastor in the Indianapolis Archdiocese, says he never dreamed when he was first ordained in 1992 he’d be the chaplain for the Indianapolis Colts, much less go to two Super Bowls with the team.
“It’s humbling and surprising to me,” he tells Sean Gallagher of The Criterion, the archdiocesan newspaper. And the priest who was chaplain for the Colts during the team’s first 20 years in Indianapolis – the late Father Patrick Kelly — has not been far from his thoughts.
“I thought of Pat in both playoff games. … I think in his own way, he’s celebrating,” Father Gallagher said.
But not so fast. Others who predict these things say the Saints will win. And the Saints not only have the current New Orleans archbishop in their corner, they’ve also got retired New Orleans Archbishop Philip M. Hannan as one of their biggest fans. He has been a fan since the team began as Peter Finney Jr., editor of the Clarion Herald, New Orleans archdiocesan paper, writes in his Feb. 6 column.
The archbishop, 96, was there at the beginning, when the Saints and their fans were newly minted. He also helped name the team, according to Finney. Archbishop Hannan reassured then-Gov. John McKeithen “that he did not consider the nickname sacrilegious.”
He also wrote a prayer when he was asked to offer the invocation before the Saints very first game on Sept. 7, 1967. It was against the Rams and before a crowd of 80,000. And the words are “every bit as fresh today,” writes Finney.