Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Papists vs. the Anglicans

I am not a football fan; professional football, anyway. I cannot stand to waste a Sunday afternoon watching grossly over-paid men whose behavior off-field is often extremely juvenile, play a game. More than this, those players are often worshiped as if they were God, a most recent example being Brett Favre who was a hero in Wisconsin until he left the Green Bay Packers for the Minnesota Vikings. Now our new favorite past-time is to criticize him and scorn him. Even the Catholic Press fawns all over these sports celebrities and praises them simply because they are Catholic football players, regardless of how they fail to live their Catholic life.
Equally bothersome to me, after the game is over and I try to watch the nightly news to catch up on the local happenings, the first twenty minutes are filled with coverage of that game that I refused to watch, as if nothing else in the world happened that day but a football game. I'm sure that a lot of my strong feelings have to do with the fact that I grew up in a house where we were not allowed to speak during the Green Bay Packer game, and couldn't speak even if we wanted to because the volume was always turned up to full blast while the green and gold tromped all over the field. And now, I live in a house where men are the majority and once again, Sunday afternoons are filled with a blaring loud football game on the television, so I usually choose to leave the house and spend some time at a Holy Hour, or out in the backyard with a book. My husband often teases me about my lack of love for the game. He says, "I suppose the only way you will watch a football game is if it is between the priests and the seminarians!" Well now, yesterday, he got his wish!

It was a lovely, warm, Sunday afternoon, and the smell of incense from the thurible next to the stands hung heavy in the air. According to St. Francis de Sales Assistant Vocations Director, Fr. Peter Berger, "With regard to the incense, the Episcopalian minister incensed the Nashotah House team prior to the game (clearly it didn't work :)" Every now and then the breeze brought a whiff of the heavenly perfume past the fans whose cheers roared from the stands as the football fans supported their respective teams in the third annual flag football game between the Seminarians of St. Francis de Sales (known as the Shoremen) and the Seminarians of Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary (known as the Black Monks.) The announcer called out the match between the Catholics and the Protestants that was met with groans from the crowd, so it was replaced with the match between the Papists and the Anglicans. The coveted St. Lawrence Cup went to the Shoremen with a 32-19 victory! After the game, both teams united in faith to celebrate Vespers together.

I was curious to find out the meanings behind the team names, and although all of my searches have come up empty for the Shoremen, I am left to speculate that they chose this name because their lovely Seminary sits on the shores of Lake Michigan and it is from this location that they are trained to be fishers of men. With a little snooping around, I was able to discover this fascinating tale about the Black Monks...

There is a legend that states that the Nashotah House Seminary is haunted. Apparently, before the building was an Episcopal Seminary, it was a Monastery and there is a legend that one of the Monks killed another Monk, perhaps over a woman, but made it look like a suicide. Since suicide is a mortal sin, his body was buried in a cornfield instead of in the Consecrated Cemetery grounds. Twenty years later, when the murderous monk confessed to his crime, the grave of the murdered monk was exhumed but found empty. Apparently the "Black Monk" Ghost is often found roaming the scenic grounds and buildings at the Seminary, and everyone steps aside to let him pass. This legend is how the name "Black Monks" came about.

I'm such a skeptic about the paranormal, especially because I tend to think it goes against Catholic teaching, so I was surprised to find this post this morning at Badger Catholic which lead me to this excerpt about ghosts by Peter Kreeft from his book "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, but Never Dreamed of Asking."

And now that I have veered off about as far from football as I can get, it must be clear to you, dear reader, that my attention span for sports is truly very short!


  1. Interesting legend about the monastery and the monks. The paranormal is an area I steer clear of- while some of it is nonsense- some of it is not and can be quite dangerous.
    I was sorry to hear about Brett Farve- if all that they are saying is true that is. I don't trust mainstream media much.

  2. Too funny! My husband is currently enrolled as a student at Neshotah house for the Doctoral Program (D.Min.) in Biblical Studies (summer program). It is an ecumenical program that is frankly more doctrinally solid than most Catholic Biblical studies programs. His professors are Anglican, Greek Orthodox, and yes, even Roman Catholic.

    But the funniest thing about it is that he is easily freaked out. I showed him your blog and he said, "Why did you show me that?!" I love to tease him. That's why.