Faithful show Super Bowl spirit

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From an archbishop’s message on YouTube welcoming Super Bowl visitors to an Arizona coffee shop’s viewing party to a nun/principal obvious loyalty to one of the teams, to friendly wagers among bishops and prelates, Catholics across the country have Super Bowl spirit.

Sr. Margaret Fagan, principal of Epiphany School in Miami, poses Jan. 28 with her Philadelphia Eagles jersey, a miniature scoreboard and a football autographed by former head coach Andy Reid. The Eagles, the NFC champions, will compete against the AFC champions, the New England Patriots, in Super Bowl LII Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (CNS photo/Jim Davis for the Florida Catholic)

It’s pretty clear who Sr. Margaret Fagan, principal of Epiphany School in Miami, will be rooting for. The Philadelphia Eagles decor around her office and on her person says it all. And she’ll be there in person to witness the excitement. Several people at the school pitched in to surprise her with tickets to the game.

“Better pack your bags,” said Fr. Alex Rivera, parochial vicar at Epiphany, handing her a small suitcase bearing an Eagles bumper sticker. Then the public address system struck up the Eagles’ fight song, according to an article in The Florida Catholic.

Other Catholics to look for on Game Day:

Archbishop Bernard J. Hebda, a Pittsburgh native overseeing the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis since 2016, may not care as much who wins. He does want the Twin Cities’ estimated 4.4 million visitors including fans, vendors and more to be safe and have fun. He released a welcome message on YouTube Jan. 30.

It invited visitors to seek solitude and peace in more than 180 parishes including the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. The nation’s first basilica sits a mile-and-a-half from the stadium.

“You can explore their beauty, have a few quiet moments or attend Mass in one of a dozen languages,” he said.

In Arizona, Lifeboat Coffee Co. kicks off a dual celebration beginning at 3 p.m. Feb. 4. It’s the beginning of the café’s second season alongside a football party in honor of the big game.

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Elsewhere in Arizona Catholics are choosing sides — AFC or NFC — while uniting for good causes. Whether officially through the Souper Bowl of Caring like St. Thomas More Parish in Glendale or on their own initiative, parishes and schools are using Sunday’s big game as a chance to tackle hunger in their community.

Parishioners at St. Thomas More and St. Andrew the Apostle in Chandler are donating canned goods and placing them in a makeshift “end zone” for their favorite team. Students at Sacred Heart in Prescott are doing the same thing for the local St. Vincent de Paul food pantry as is St. Pius youth ministry in Tucson.

The Philadelphia Eagles won the “Souper” Bowl at Sacred Heart School in Prescott with 216 canned goods and items while the New England Patriots earned 66 cans. (courtesy photo)

Some Catholics will carefully watch who wins the real Super Bowl.