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Former Fargo bishop to celebrate Mass with and cheer for Denver Broncos: Samuel Aquila ‘a huge fan’ of Super Bowl-bound team

DENVER — No one knows for sure whether the one Christians consider the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, is for the Broncos or the Seahawks.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t hedge your bets.

Denver’s Catholic Archbishop Samuel Aquila, a huge Broncos fan and the former bishop of the Fargo Diocese, will reportedly celebrate Mass with a small group of Broncos players and coaches Saturday night before Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. There’s no word on whether Aquila’s vestments will be orange and blue.

Aquila will also attend the game as a guest of Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and his wife, Linda.

“Even when I was Bishop of Fargo, I followed and rooted for the Broncos,” Aquila said in remarks shared by the archdiocese Thursday. “I am sure many people are wondering what I will say to the Broncos in my homily, but all I can say is that the Holy Spirit will guide me as He wishes. What I do know, is that during the game I will be cheering for a Broncos victory!”

Quarterback Peyton Manning, has been a football Moses, guiding the Broncos to the Promised Land. But it may not have hurt that the team also made another Catholic completion last fall.

Linda Del Rio gave Pope Francis an autographed team ball in October.

A reporter tried to contact J. Peter Sartain, the archbishop of Seattle, to find out if the Seahawks can count on any requests for divine intervention on their behalf.

A receptionist said Sartain was new to the Pacific Northwest and still learning the ways of the land of the blue and green birds. Before transferring the call to a public relations guy’s voicemail, she offered this blessing: “Go ‘Hawks!”

There’s no word on whether Aquila and Sartain have a side bet on the game, much like mayors, governors and congressman are wont to do. For example, would Aquila have to pony up a box of communion wafers if the Seahawks “Legion of Boom” shuts down Manning?

As a side note: Those of us who’ve suffered through years of ups, downs and rank futility by the Minnesota Vikings, Twins and Timberwolves may wonder if these potential princes of the church are willing to share some of the divine blessings that have flowed to their hometown teams.

Any spare Our Fathers or Hail Marys and general prayers for some decent draft picks or free agents sent this way would help.

Lord knows, we’ve taken care of the lamentations.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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