WOOD-RIDGE, N.J. — While watching the Super Bowl game last week, two friars at Assumption parish realized that they both had personal connections to some of the players on the participating teams. Below are their tales and memories.
Tom Kelly said: “Watching Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts kicking three field goals in the Super Bowl revived my memory of a special event that occurred a dozen years ago, when I was stationed at St. Joseph’s Parish in East Rutherford, N.J.”
“I had received a phone call from a representative of the New England Patriots (Adam was a Patriot until this past year), asking if one of the priests could say a Saturday Mass for the Catholic personnel of the team. Being a sports fan, I immediately volunteered for the job.”
“Guess who my lector was? Right! Adam Vinatieri. I was very impressed by his sincerity and reverence, as he fulfilled the role as Lector, and his friendliness in our brief conversation afterwards.”
“As I watched three field goals in this year’s Super Bowl, I traveled back in memory.”
Brian Cullinane relates the following: “The two weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLI brought back a ton of memories. When I was working up at St. Bonaventure University, I also served as the ‘away games’ Catholic chaplain for the New Orleans Saints.”
“During my five-year involvement with the Saints, Archie Manning, the father of Peyton and Eli, was the starting quarterback. “I remember traveling with the team, having dinner and breakfast with the team, being in the locker room before and after the games, and being on the sidelines at their away games. I would have Mass for the team members, although I think only three of them were Catholic, but several of the coaches and numerous press people always attended.
“I was delighted to see Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts win the Super Bowl. During my five years with the Saints and Archie Manning, they were known as the ‘Aints’ …we only won two games in those five years.”
NOTE: The final score was the Colts 29 and Bears 17. The Saints had lost previously to the Bears in the NFC championship game.