So far no Super Bowl bishops’ bets, but pre-game Mass is on

In previous years, archbishops from the cities of the rival Super Bowl teams have made friendly wagers on the game’s outcome — usually involving food, drink, hats and donations to the Catholic Charities’ agency in the winning team’s diocese.

In 2011 we noted here that Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh and Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wis., promised to make personal donations to the winning team’s local Catholic Charities agency and also donate regional food to a food pantry in the winning team’s city. With the Green Bay Packers victory that year, Bishop Zubik was obliged to supply a food pantry with Pittsburgh traditions of  pierogies and kielbasa.

This year no such bet is on between Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain when the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks vie for the Super Bowl Trophy at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Feb. 2.

A Denver Bronco helps a boy find a coat during a service event  Jan. 28 with Knights of Columbus in jersey City, N.J. (CNS photo/Reuters)

A Denver Bronco helps a boy find a coat during a Jan. 28 service event with Knights of Columbus in Jersey City, N.J. (CNS photo/Reuters)

But that’s not to say they won’t be paying attention to Super Bowl XLVIII.  As for Archbishop Aquila, he was invited to the game by Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and his wife, Linda. The night before the big game, the archbishop will celebrate Mass for some of the Broncos players and coaches at the hotel where the team is staying in Jersey City, N.J.

In statements released by the communications office of the Denver Archdiocese, the archbishop said the following:

–“Jack and Linda Del Rio invited me to attend the game with their family and to say Mass for the team. The Broncos have a chaplain, Father Steele, who often celebrates Mass for the Broncos. I have been edified by the example of many NFL athletes and coaches and their families who make the effort throughout the football season to attend Sunday Mass.

— “I enjoy sports and I’m a long-time Broncos fan from when I went to school at CU Boulder. Even when I was bishop of Fargo (N.D.), I followed and rooted for the Broncos.

— “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!”

The mayors of the rival cities wagered volunteer service. In a mid-day news release Jan. 31, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. They agreed that the winning mayor would host the mayor from the opposing team for a day of volunteers service with AmeriCorps members. “Our teams have shown that Seattle and Denver are national leaders in football. Wit this bet and in partnership with AmeriCorps, Mayor Hancock and I wanted to showcase our cities’ leadership in service to our communities as well,” said Murray.

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