February 5, 2010

Priest to be a part of second Super Bowl as Colts’ chaplain

By Sean Gallagher

Father Peter Gallagher, the pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Lawrenceburg, is making his second trip to the Super Bowl in four years as the volunteer chaplain of the Indianapolis Colts.

Father Gallagher talked about his excitement about his upcoming trip to Miami for Super Bowl XLIV in an interview with The Criterion.

“I would have never in my wildest dreams 17 years ago [when I was ordained] have thought, ‘Well, I’m going to end up being the pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Lawrenceburg and chaplain for the Indianapolis Colts and, oh, make a second trip to the Super Bowl.’ ”

Being the Colts’ chaplain may not have been on Father Gallagher’s mind when he was ordained in 1992. But the late Father Patrick Kelly, the Colts’ chaplain for their first 20 years in Indianapolis, who died in 2003,

was in his thoughts and prayers during the Jan. 24 AFC Championship game against the New York Jets when the Colts fell behind by 11 points.

‘I said, ‘Pat, we need this,’ ” Father Gallagher said.

“I thought of Pat in both of the playoff games,” he said. “I kind of sensed that he knew that we were here, and that this was as much for him as it would be for anything that happens to me. It only happens because of his tapping me [to help him in his role as Colts chaplain] many years ago. I think, in his own way, he’s celebrating.”

Father Gallagher hopes to celebrate his second Super Bowl victory in a few days. But in the days leading up to the big game, he just couldn’t believe he was going to another Super Bowl.

“It’s humbling and surprising to me,” he said. “It certainly is unusual. [Catholic Athletes for Christ executive director] Ray McKenna and I have been talking about this. He can’t recall another chaplain that’s in this position of having gone twice.” †

(Related: Shepherds place friendly wager on big game; schools out on the day after the Super Bowl | ‘Super Bowl Sister’ says: Colts 31, Saints 22)

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