FINALLY!!!! After a long, drawn out off-season that had many people questioning whether we would even have professional football this year, we’ve made it to opening day. To make it even better, my New Orleans Saints kickoff the season tonight against the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.
The New Orleans Saints came to be on November 1, 1966, which was, coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) All Saints Day, a Roman Catholic holiday. Having been created on a Holy Day of Obligation in a predominately Catholic city, the owners felt compelled to call the team the Saints. But they didn’t want to sound sacrilegious. So they sought the blessing of the Catholic Church. Then Archbishop Philip M. Hannan not only granted the Saints organization permission to use the name, he subsequently presented the team with the following prayer at the inaugural Saints and Sinners Dinner in 1968:
Prayer for the Saints
God, we ask your blessing upon all who participate in this event, and all who have supported our Saints. Our heavenly father, who has instructed us that the “saints by faith conquered kingdoms … and overcame lions”, grant our Saints an increase of faith and strength so that they will not only overcome the Lions, but also the Bears, the Rams, the Giants, and even those awesome people in Green Bay.
May they continue to tame the Redskins and fetter the Falcons as well as the Eagles. Give to our owners and coaches the continued ability to be as wise as serpents and simple as doves, so that no good talent will dodge our draft. Grant to our fans perseverance in their devotion and unlimited lung power, tempered with a sense of charity to all, including the referees.
May our beloved “Bedlam Bowl” be a source of good fellowship and may the “Saints Come Marching In” be a victory march for all, now and in eternity.
Philip M. Hannan
Archbishop of New Orleans
Unfortunately for us Saints fans, the good Archbishop prayed for perseverance instead of a Super Bowl victory. Maybe if he would have asked for the Lombardi Trophy instead, we wouldn’t have had to wait so long to claim the top prize and we could have avoided those paper bags–they really mess up your hair!!!!
With that said, I raise my pint glass and toast another year of great football among the most devoted and passionate NFL fans in the country. I’m proud to “be in that number”! Good luck to all (unless you’re playing my Saints!!).
Bless You Who Dat Nation. Bless You Boys!!!!