Mandeville, LA – Church Doctrine – When Andrew Jackson showed up to meet the invading British in New Orleans, he stopped at the Ursuline Convent to visit and then pray to Our Lady of Prompt Succor1 with Sister St. Michel and the Ursuline sisters. We know how this story ends but many don’t know that Jackson made regular stops at Ursuline Convent whenever he was in New Orleans.2 The power of prayer has thus been sought and revered in New Orleans for centuries. Inside the Superdome Sunday night, the power of prayer was invoked on the sidelines as Times Picayune photographer David Grunfeld discovered.
Grunfeld had snapped photos Sunday evening and some were culled to be part of the game wrap up Sunday night. When Grunfeld went threw his entire photo shoot on Monday morning he discovered a shot that had been missed for the deadline3. It was a poignant photo of Saints star tight-end Jimmy Graham, kneeling in prayer, 10 yards from where then-injured Saint,Ben Watson lay, being treated by medical staff for what could have been a serious injury. This is made even more amazing by the fact that all NFL games now begin with stadium announcers asking patrons to stand and “honor America” or stand and “honor our nation’s military by singing the national anthem”.
How ironic then in the city that is home to Our Lady, who has foregone ecclesiastical moments of homage before events played on The ecclesiastic day, that Graham would seek the Almighty’s assistance and solace. This shouIdn’t be surprising, recall that Vince Lombardi called the trinity of life “God, Family & The Green Bay Packers”4. Still, I offer a word of warning to Graham and his boosters at the Picayune who “promise” to make the prayer photo “an award winner this year”. Graham is known for his touchdown pass catching skills, followed by dunking the ball over the goal post. If this photo gets out and if he repeats the slander against the secular Gods of football on TV, it’s his career that will be slam dunked. Just ask Tim Tebow.
3. http://blog.nola.com/interact/2013/11/photo_of_the_day_jimmy_graham.html#incart_m-rpt-24. See “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life Of Vince Lombardi”, Maraniss, David http://books.google.com/books?id=9jc9XpPICdUC&pg=PT389&lpg=PT389&dq=Vince+Lombardi,+prayer+before+games&source=bl&ots=4h1de5Fj9U&sig=uAuoJQea6A03Evbq R2QNmneCUv4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=QWOCUpH0JcGqkAeJo4CgDQ&ved=0CFIQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=prayer&f=false