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Chaplain for New Orleans Saints says he's thankful

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By Catholic Online
9/9/2010 (9 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Reverend Tony Ricard calls post 'dreams come true'

For the past decade the Rev. R. Tony Ricard has been the Catholic chaplain for the New Orleans Saints. He says that he is eternally thankful. "To have a chance to pray with the team I've followed all of my life is a dream come true," Ricard says. "It is one of the greatest blessings a priest and football fan could ever imagine."

'Father Tony,' as he's known to New Orleans Saints players, parishioners and the young men he mentors, has always been devoted to his team.

"Father Tony," as he's known to New Orleans Saints players, parishioners and the young men he mentors, has always been devoted to his team.

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By Catholic Online
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
9/9/2010 (9 years ago)

Published in Sports


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Father Tony," as he's known to Saints players, parishioners and the young men he mentors, has always been devoted to his team. He has fond memories of watching the Saints with his dad at Tulane Stadium. Years later, as a member of the St. Augustine Marching Purple Knights, he felt awestruck when the band performed in the Superdome during halftime on the same field where his beloved team played. Ricard cites his favorite hobby as preaching and that his flock at Our Lady Star of the Sea on St. Roch Avenue knew not to expect a "Domino's Pizza" kind of Mass. "There's no 30 minutes or it's free," he said. Any Sunday the Saints played, parishioners knew the Gospel Mass would be shorter than usual. For home games, Father Tony would finish by 11:30 a.m. so he could jump in his car and get to the Superdome in time for the national anthem. For times the Saints played out-of-town games, he'd say the final blessing a few minutes before noon, then rush across the street to the rectory in time for kickoff. When his rectory flooded after Hurricane Katrina, his renovations included the "Reggie Room," complete with a big-screen TV, a Fathead of Reggie Bush, a framed photograph of the Saints' triumphant return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, and a whole lot of other Saints memorabilia. When it was suggested that a special prayer might be needed to send the Saints to the play-offs for the 2009 season, he wrote one for the Living section to kick off the 2009 season. And when the Saints went 13-3 and made the playoffs, he wrote a "Playoff Prayer for the Who Dat Nation." He also made another prediction: "We'll blow out the Cardinals, and the second game will be closer," Father Tony said." Then we'll go to the Super Bowl and beat Peyton and his little crew." And then Tracy Porter intercepted Brett Favre's pass, and Garrett Hartley made that memorable game-winning field goal during overtime.

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