Monday, January 20, 2003

Inspired by the divine retribution lowered on the priest who declares "Go Eagles!" at the end of Mass (blogged below), and in honor of the upcoming Super Bowl, let's do a survey of lamest sports-related liturgical moments. I have a couple to start us off:

*While I was a student at the University of Tennessee, we got an associate at our campus parish who apparently embraced the totems of whatever school at which he was assigned (I believe he'd been a rabid Longhorn before he came to us.) At homily time he was known to pull out orange and white pom-poms, but I have to say my most vivid memory isn't football-related. I remember one Sunday evening Mass, he came in breathlessly, a little late, and after the opening hymn, breathlessly announced something about a golfer catching up in the match that was currently being televised - I want to say it was Mark Calcavecchia - but I'm not sure.

And there's "Father Gator" - which is what he license plate reads -or used to when I was around. Sure, his office was decorated with scads of football stuff,but that's his right. It didn't stay in the office, obviously. Two homilies come to mind.

You might remember that around a decade ago, Gainesville was terrorized one fall by a serial killer. The Gospel, that Sunday, was the parable of the laborers in the vineyard - you know, no matter when they show up they're paid equally? Well, Fr. Gator started off by speaking about the apparent "injustice" of this situation, and various examples of injustice we encounter in our world today...(which is not the point of the parable, anyway, but that wasn't ever the point, even then..)I immediately assumed he was going to touch on the inuustice of what was weighing on everyone's minds - young lives being snuffed out, and so on. But no, that wasn't it. UF had recently been put on probation by the NCAA. Now that's injustice...

Either that year or the next, the first Sunday of Advent rolled around. Good readings, important season, rich material. Plus, a preacher from Food for the Poor was there to make an appeal. Mass begins. Greeting offered. Fr. Gator looks at us and wonders if we, like him, had found ourselves unable to sleep the previous night as we contemplated the Gator's loss in football the day before and instead of sleeping, "ran those plays over and over in my head."

Can you top that?


You're too modest, comment #1. IMHO, that does top this.

Speaking of the Reds, when I was in high school in Knoxville, the Reds were the local team - it was before WTBS and better records made the Braves "America's team." Our math teacher Sister of Mercy who was one of the scariest people I've ever met, was passionate for the Reds. They gave her a cake when the Reds won the World Series while I was in high school (I think? Or maybe it was just division. I dunno). Anyway, this nun didn't ignore our high school teams, either. At the end of prayer on every game day, she closed with, "Our Lady of Victory, pray for us."

She also had a roulette wheel in the back that she'd haul out on ocassion so that we could gamble for pieces of this wretched fudge she made - proceeds to the missions of course. Fudge pieces for handy grenades.

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