As Philadelphia prepares to celebrate its first Super Bowl, the Catholic schools in the city will close for the big parade.
The Philadelphia Eagles beat the heavily-favored New England Patriots 41-33 on February 4 in Minneapolis, despite losing the lead in the fourth quarter. The Eagles were led by back-up quarterback Nick Foles, who only took over for the team in December when regular starter Carson Wentz was injured.
The Eagles went into every play-off game the underdog, and always found a way to win. The last NFL Championship for the Eagles was in 1960, six years before the Super Bowl-era began in 1966.
The city is holding a public celebration on Thursday, February 8.
The archdiocese said that, “given projected city street closures and heavy demands on public transportation in the Philadelphia region,” the Catholic schools in the city will be closed on that day.
“In order to permit members of all our school communities to participate in this celebration, Archdiocesan high schools and parochial elementary schools in the suburban counties will also be closed on February 8th,” the statement says, before extending “its prayerful congratulations and best wishes to the Philadelphia Eagles on their historic victory in Super Bowl LII! Thank you for bringing the Lombardi Trophy home to the City of Brotherly Love!”
Archbishop Charles Chaput offered his personal congratulations to the team, comparing them to a boxer famous for his underdog status (and less famous for his association with the Catholic Worker movement.)
“If the great boxer Jimmy Braddock was the ‘Cinderella Man’ – an underdog, implausible winner — the Eagles are the Cinderella Team, a whole organization of character, courage and refusal to quit. God bless them all, and their families, and the wonderful city (our city) they call home,” Chaput said. “Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on their incredible victory in Super Bowl LII!”
Chaput has another reason to celebrate the Eagles victory: He will soon be feasting on Boston lobsters, courtesy of his counterpart in Boston.
Chaput is former seminary classmate of his fellow Capuchin, the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
Before the game, the two prelates made a friendly wager, with the bishop of the losing team providing either Philadelphia cheesesteaks or Boston lobsters to the bishop of the winning team.
A charitable contribution was also included in the contest: O’Malley will make a $100 donation to Saint John’s Hospice, which provides emergency services to the homeless in the City of Philadelphia along with direction toward achieving a stable residence.