The Pittsburgh Steelers can consider themselves prayed up and ready to go for 2019.
On Sunday, team executives, staff and fans gathered at Saint Vincent Parish for the annual Mass for Steelers training camp. The basilica dominates the Unity campus of Saint Vincent College, where the Steelers began their annual training camp Friday.
College President Paul R. Taylor, chief celebrant at Sunday’s Mass, had no trouble transitioning from religion to sports during his homily, at one point asking for a moment of silence for the “successful completion” of the 2019-20 season.
Many Catholics traditionally have been taught not to pray for a sports team to win, but rather for the health of the players, good sportsmanship and the like.
“I think God knows what we mean,” Taylor said.
“As St. Benedict said, whenever you begin a good work, pray to God that he will bring it to a successful completion. You and I know what ‘successful completion’ means for a (football) season: Playing until February.”
Taylor also used the camaraderie and teamwork of the Steelers as a metaphor for belonging — whether belonging to a spouse in marriage, a monastery such as Saint Vincent Archabbey or Steelers Nation.
“That belonging in each of these instances is just a shadow of what God asks us to do with him,” he said. “When we belong, we know that we are loved.”
The Mass also was punctuated by participation from Steelers executives and Rooney family members.
Team President Art Rooney II read the first Scripture reading (Genesis 18:20-32), General Manager Kevin Colbert read the second reading (Colossians 2:12-14), and team scout Mark Bruener led the Prayer of the Faithful.
In the petitions, Bruener asked for “health, strength and grace” for the Steelers organization, the Rooney family and Steelers fans.
Taylor also prayed for the repose of the souls of founding owner Art Rooney Sr., who died in 1988, and former owner Dan Rooney, who died in 2017.
Steelers coaches and staff were the gift bearers during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Day 3 of training camp followed the Mass at 2:55 p.m.