Friday, September 12, 2014

Fr. Tony's 2014 Prayer for the Saints

God of all unity,

We stand before you this day, ever grateful for the unifying spirit that has made us the Who Dat Nation!

We hail from all across the South - united under the banner of the New Orleans Saints and blessed by the presence of every walk of life.

We are One Coast. One Voice. One Dome!

We represent almost every group of people who have walked on the face of this blessed earth.

Among us are members of every faith community and every generation. We come from every race, creed and color. Stretching across the Gulf Coast and reaching deep into every state in America, we are the Who Dat Nation, unbowed and ever proud of our legacy.

Some of us ride boats up the bayous while others ride horses in Mardi Gras parades. Some drive streetcars down St. Charles Avenue while others rock shrimp boats in the Gulf. Regardless of our home ports, occupations or ways of life, we are united as Who Dats and come before you with one voice of eternal praise.

Lord, you said that where two or more are gathered together in your name, you would be in our midst. Well, as we gather as the Who Dat Nation in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and in other stadiums across the land, we believe your words to be ever true.

As you unite with us in the Dome and in our Gulf Coast homes, we ask you to send your blessings down upon "Our Boys." Help each of them to be the best that they can possibly be.

Guide our team's front office. Help them to make the best decisions and lead us into the land of great promise. Especially send your blessings upon Tom and Gail Benson. They are the heads of our Who Dat family. Shower them with great health and your undying spirit of love.

Bless Rita Benson-LeBlanc and Mickey Loomis. Infuse them with wisdom as they continue to choose the path down which we march as one.

Bless our coaches. Help Sean Payton, Joe Vitt, Pete Carmichael, Rob Ryan and Greg McMahon devise successful game plans that will ultimately get us to the Super Bowl. Allow each of them to teach and preach a message of success that will inspire "Our Boys" to be as united as the rest of the Who Dat Nation.

Bless our players. Send your grace upon Drew Brees, Zach Strief, Junior Galette, Curtis Lofton and Thomas Morstead and all of our players. Keep them safe from all major injuries and allow them to victoriously represent us across this great land. They are our brothers and our sons. Let them know just how proud we are to call them "Our Boys"!

Bless the entire Who Dat Nation as we march under the banner of the Fleur-de-Lis. Together with your grace, we will remain banded as one as we support and encourage the New Orleans Saints. May we always be One Coast ... One Voice ... One Dome!

Through the prayers of our heavenly New Orleans Saints, St. Francis Cabrini, St. Katherine Drexel, St. John Paul II, Blessed Francis Seelos and the Venerable Henriette Delille, may we be as united on earth as they are in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Together, may we always be one nation under God, undaunted and indivisible. May we stand tall before all as proud members of the Who Dat Nation!


The Rev. R. Tony Ricard, M. Th., M.Div., is the New Orleans Saints Catholic team chaplain and a theology teacher at St. Augustine High School. Read Sheila Stroup's interview with Fr. Tony and the complete story behind his annual prayer for the Saints.

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