By Matthew Gambino
Catholic News Service
PHILADELPHIA (CNS) — A friendly wager between the archbishops of Philadelphia and Boston for Super Bowl LII Feb. 4 in Minneapolis between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots will benefit needy people in Philadelphia, following the Eagles’ win 41-33.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, both longtime friends and classmates from their seminary days as young Capuchin Franciscans, wagered $100 donations to aid the poor in their archdioceses.
With the Eagles win, Cardinal O’Malley will make the donation to St. John’s Hospice, which provides emergency services to homeless men in Philadelphia as well as helping them to achieve a stable residence.
If the Patriots had won, Archbishop Chaput would have donated to Catholic Charities Boston, which provides a broad spectrum of social service care to thousands of needy individuals and families in Massachusetts.
The archbishops also added local flavor to their friendly bet: Philadelphia cheesesteaks and Boston lobsters.
“In the spirit of friendly competition,” the cardinal and the archbishop said in a joint statement Jan. 31, “we have issued our wager because we have confidence in our teams and, more importantly, based on our admiration for the commitment of the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots to assist their local communities and respond to the needs of the less fortunate.
“It is a blessing for the people of Philadelphia and Boston,” the prelates said, that Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie and Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft “have always held service to others as a foundational principle of their personal and professional lives.” They prayed for “safe and enjoyable Super Bowl for both teams and all spectators, and that the gifts of God’s love and peace may bring us closer together as a society.”
When he spoke at the Catholic Men’s Conference in Phoenix the day before, Feb. 3, Archbishop Chaput put in a plug for his team, and said that with prayers, “I’ll be eating Boston lobsters this time next week.” It looks like he’ll enjoy them.