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Charity, Cheesesteaks and Lobster: Clergy Make Friendly Super Bowl Wager

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley have a  friendly wager over who will win Super Bowl LII. (Photo: Catholic News Service/Massimiliano Migliorato and Gregory L. Tracy, The Pilot)

By Christopher White

NEW YORK – Ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl contest between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, Mass., and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Pa., have placed a friendly wager on the football game’s outcome.

Should the Eagles win, Cardinal O’Malley has pledged to make a $100 donation to St. John’s Hospice in Philadelphia, which assists homeless individuals in finding stable residences.

If the Patriots win, Archbishop Chaput has agreed to make a $100 gift to Catholic Charities of Boston, one of the major providers of social services in the archdiocese.

The two individuals are long-time friends, former classmates and are both Capuchin friars. They also threw Boston lobsters and Philadelphia cheesesteaks onto their bets for good measure.

On Wednesday, the two prelates issued a joint statement saying their wager was more about showcasing community outreach than true competition.

“In the spirit of friendly competition, 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,” they wrote.

“It is a blessing for the people of Philadelphia and Boston that Jeffrey Lurie and Robert Kraft have always held service to others as a foundational principle of their personal and professional lives. We pray for a 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.”

Kraft is the owner of the Patriots and Lurie the owner of the Eagles.

Friendly wagers between prelates are a common tradition in major sporting events. While Archbishop Chaput predicted a close outcome to the game, anticipating the Eagles would best the Patriots with a score of 24-20, Cardinal O’Malley forecasted a greater margin of victory for his Patriots, with a 34-21 prediction.

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