KANSAS CITY, Mo. (OSV News) — The Catholic leadership in both Philadelphia and Kansas City, Missouri, went all out this year with their Super Bowl bet — but Catholic Charities scored better.
In what has become a tradition among Bishops when their hometown teams play each other in the Super Bowl, Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez of Philadelphia kicked off Super Bowl LVII weekend with a friendly bet. Depending on the outcome of the game, the bishop of the losing city would make a $500 donation to Catholic charities or Catholic social services in the winning city.
The two clergymen traded banter about the game on the Feb. 10 EWTN News weekly television show “In Depth,” with Archbishop Pérez warning his bishop brother to prepare his checkbook. But the Kansas City Chiefs ultimately prevailed, winning 38-35 against the Philadelphia Eagles in a game on February 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
“Archbishop Pérez called my office this morning and said the check is on its way, so I want to thank him and his diocese for being so good,” Bishop Johnston said in a video posted on Facebook and Twitter. on February 13th. But you know, Catholic Charities in both our diocese and archdiocese do so many good things, I’m going to send him a donation to Catholic Charities’ appeal for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”
“Whether you’re celebrating this week or feeling the agony of defeat, we can all consider ourselves winners by supporting our Catholic charities, who do so much to serve and uplift,” Bishop Johnston continued.
“As we approach the Lenten season very soon here, I just want to encourage all of you to consider giving as part of your almsgiving, or simply giving some of your time and talent, to Catholic Charities,” Bishop Johnston said. “This is one way we can truly benefit our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable.
While Bishop Johnston congratulated the Chiefs on their win and thanked Our Lady of Victory for her intercession, he wouldn’t mind if they faced the Eagles again in next year’s Super Bowl.
“It was such a great game, and even though Chiefs fans are celebrating this week, Philadelphia Eagles fans have so much to be proud of. The game could have gone either way,” he said.
In recent Big Games, bishops have made food bets and/or charitable donations on the outcome of the Super Bowl.
For the 2022 Super Bowl, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati made a friendly bet on the outcome of the gridiron matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Rams won Super Bowl LVI, but Catholic school students from both archdioceses also won. Donors have contributed more than $22,000 in educational assistance grants to each archdiocese’s Catholic Education Foundation. The Archbishops have invited supporters to participate in their good deed wager through the Bishops Big Game challenge.
For Super Bowl LV in 2021, Bishop Johnston was in the spotlight again for a bet with the Chiefs’ competitor that year: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, home team of Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg, Florida .
Schools in their respective dioceses — St. Elizabeth’s in Kansas City and St. Paul’s in St. Petersburg — have collected cans of soup for a Souper Bowl food drive for local food pantries and have made a bet to contribute to each other’s efforts. The outcome of the games meant that St. Elizabeth’s sent the barbecue to their Florida counterpart.