Priest says second trip to Super Bowl for him ‘humbling,’ ‘surprising’

Father Peter Gallagher, pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Lawrenceburg, Ind., is making his second trip to the Super Bowl in four years. (CNS photo/courtesy of Indianapolis Colts)

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.

Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein and New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond have placed a friendly wager on the game, and a nun-prognosticator in Indy has the Colts winning 31-22.

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.

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2 Responses to Priest says second trip to Super Bowl for him ‘humbling,’ ‘surprising’

  1. John Coonen says:

    I’m glad to know that team members have strong spiritual guidance along their path. The light of the world needs to shine on all of us, including athletes who can easily get off the path, given the financial responsibilities which come with the job. It’s incredibly easy for young athletes to put themselves first, not God, and to lose their way without strong spiritual guidance.

    Thank you, Pastor Gallagher.

  2. Mitch Finley says:

    Congratulations to the Saints on their remarkable and exciting win! It was a game to remember. . .

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