JOURNAL: Hockeytown priest -- Father Casey of St. Dominic's
-- combines Wings and prayer
Pat Casey began seeing signs in the middle of Mass on
Saturday. Nobody else saw them. They bore messages he
felt a need to share with his parishioners. Urgent messages.
so, in the middle of Mass, he intoned: "Red Wings
3, Avalanche 2."
then, "Red Wings 4, Avalanche 2."
then the Red Wings won Game 1.
the crowd was pleased.
Father Casey, wearing a winged wheel on his vestment,
was pleased as well.
a die-hard Wings fan, arranged for a neighbor to hold
up signs in the back of his church, St. Dominic's. (No,
not Hasek.) He frequently mentions the Wings when he
addresses his congregation.
course, this mixture of church and sports has not gone
over well with some people.
have had complaints from my parishioners who are Detroit
Piston fans," said Father Casey, whose parish is
located at Trumbull and Warren in Detroit. "They
said I didn't do enough to promote the Pistons."
who might be the wittiest priest in southeast Michigan,
doesn't want anybody to get the wrong idea. He is not
preaching for the Red Wings. He is not saying that God
is a Wings fan.
have never prayed for the Red Wings to win," he
has come close. For example: "May God continue
to inspire the Red Wings as they inspire our city to
who grew up in Waterford, said he uses the Wings as
Pentecost Sunday, I likened the gifts of the holy spirit
to the myriad of gifts that Red Wings players have,"
he said. "My parishioners are used to my goofy
analogies. I'm not preaching for the Red Wings. I just
try to use them so people understand what I'm talking
is a savvy PR move, too. He asked a parishioner who
made vestments to create this one. Casey made a deal:
If she would make the vestment, he would lead a pilgrimage
don't mind at all being the center of attention, but
more importantly I'm trying to draw attention to the
ministry," he said.
always looking for people to give me free tickets to
the games," he said. "I'm just a mooch."
Father Casey opened his service by asking if any Avalanche
fans were in attendance. Nobody raised a hand. What
would he have done if a Colorado fan had stood up?
would have publicly humiliated them," he joked.
"No, I would have made a good-natured jab."
would he think if a priest in Denver did the same thing
with the Avs that he does with the Wings? Would he understand?
not sure God would understand," he said, "but
I would understand."
this isn't about divine intervention for Mike Ilitch's
it must be the work of God that Darren McCarty got a
hat trick," Father Casey cracked.
priest has no plans to get a Lions or Tigers vestment.
is the only one," said Casey, 38. "There is
no reason to be a football fan in Detroit. There is
very little reason to be a baseball fan in Detroit.
And I never could seem to get into basketball."
Casey said his favorite Wing is probably Chris Chelios.
He admits that when you need an urgent answer to a hockey
trivia question, he is not your man. He's simply a priest
who happens to be a Wings fan.
he makes no apologies for mentioning the Wings when
he speaks to his parish.
think there is a natural link between praising God and
athletes' pushing their bodies to limits," he said.
"Sports celebrate accomplishment. People reach
beyond themselves through athletics. It's all very akin
to our relationship to God. Sports is a wonderful way
to give glory to God. I don't see anything wrong with
it at all." - Free-Press
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