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Kansas City, St Petersburg bishops make Super Bowl wager

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CNA Staff, Feb 4, 2021 / 05:01 pm MT (CNA).- The Catholic bishops of the cities competing in the Super Bowl have placed a friendly wager on the game’s outcome.

Super Bowl LV will take place Feb. 7, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers squaring off against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bishop Gregory Parkes of St. Petersburg and Bishop James Johnston of Kansas City-St. Joseph announced their wager on a Feb. 2 episode of “Conversation with Cardinal Dolan.”

If the Kansas City Chiefs win, Bishop Parkes will send hand-rolled Tampa cigars to Bishop Johnston, while if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are victorious, Bishop Johnston will send Kansas City barbecue to Bishop Parkes.

In addition to the wager between the bishops, two Catholic schools in the competing cities have taken the initiative to place a friendly bet on the game.

St. Paul Catholic School in St. Petersburg has a wager with St. Elizabeth Catholic School in Kansas City, Bishop Parkes said. The schools are holding a food drive— which they are calling “The Souper Bowl”— to collect soup cans to donate to local pantries, with the school collecting the most cans declared the winner.

In addition to the food drive, the schools also have a wager similar to the one between the two cities’ bishops. If Kansas City loses the football game, St. Paul’s school will send barbecue to St. Elizabeth’s. If Tampa Bay loses, St. Elizabeth’s will send Florida oranges and a treasure chest full of beads.

Bishop Johnston said the students took the initiative to start the wager between the schools.

“It was not something that came from on high, it came from the students themselves,” he said.

Wagers between local bishops of the teams playing the Super Bowl has become something of a tradition.

Kansas City won last year’s Super Bowl, earning Dungeness crabs for Bishop Johnston from Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.

In 2018, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston bet on the outcome of Super Bowl LII, played by the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. At stake were $100 donations to Catholic Charities Boston or St. John’s Hospice in Philadelphia.

Bishops have also made public, friendly wagers on the outcomes of the NBA Championship and the World Series when their local teams have been at odds.

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