When John Mecom, the original owner of the New Orleans Saints, decided to name the franchise the ",Saints," he called Archbishop Philip Hannan to make sure the Catholic community would not be offended.
Archbishop Hanna assured Mr. Mecom that Catholics would not be offended. But he cautioned Mr. Mecom, "You do know that many of the saints of the Church were Martyrs."
Archbishop Hannan wrote a special prayer for the newly formed Saints football team. That was forty-three years ago. Archbishop Hannan is still alive and very active at ninety-six years of age. He has lived long enough to see "Hell freeze over!" when
the Saints won the Super Bowl.
"God, we ask your blessing upon all who participate in this event, and all who have supported our Saints. Our heavenly Father, who has instructed us that the 'saints by faith conquered kingdoms ... and overcame lions,' grant our Saints an increase of faith and strength so that they will not only overcome the Lions, but also the Bears, the Rams, the Giants and even those awesome people in Green Bay.
"May they continue to tame the Redskins and fetter the Falcons as well as the Eagles. Give to our owners and coaches the continued ability to be as wise as serpents and simple as doves, so that no good talent will dodge our draft. Grant to our fans perseverance in their devotion and unlimited lung power, tempered with a sense of charity to all, including the referees.
"May our beloved 'Bedlam Bowl' be a source of good fellowship, and may the 'Saints Come Marching In' be a victory march for all, now and in eternity."