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Which football team did God bet on?

If you're one of those sighing with relief that the Super Bowl is over, move on to the next section. Kathy Berken of The Compass, Green Bay's Catholic paper, reports that Green Bay Bishop Robert Banks has wagered 12 pounds of Wisconsin cheese on the Green Bay Packers, against Boston Cardinal Bernard Law's 12 lobsters on the New England Patriots.

The event is described as a "gentleman's bet," presumably to imply that the prelates are within the law carrying on like this.

At press time the outcome was still a mystery, but my mother-in-law, who lives in Milwaukee, sent me the following prayer, which seems to leave no doubt how this will end:

Our Favre, who art in Lambeau, hallowed be thy arm. The Bowl will come. It will be won, in New Orleans as it is in Lambeau. Give us this Sunday, our weekly win. And give us many touchdown passes, but do not let others pass against us. Lead us not into frustration, but deliver us to Bourbon Street. For thine is the MVP, the Best in the NFC, and the glory of the Cheeseheads, now and forever. Amen.

No, it's not irreverent: God has a big sense of humor, ask anybody. And by the time you read this you will be in a position to say whether God is a Packer or not.

The illustrations of Barrie Maguire frequently grace these pages. Right now, however, Maguire is not a happy camper. Cyberwriters are his problem. Listen:

hi...i have to get something off my chest...its about a brand new custom that most of my cyber friends have embraced...i bet you can guess where im headed...theyre sending me emails and knowingly making them hard to read...and these are people who normally care about writing and communicating...some of them are writers and editors...

probably all this is because the internet is ruled by genius teenagers who never had to learn to spell or use commas and by millionaires in plaid shirts who don't even own suits...

NCR does not have a position on this thorny issue.

Last year (Nov. 1), Fr. Paul Surlis of St. John's University, Jamaica, N.Y., wrote an article encouraging the church and everyone to further the cause of death with dignity. Recently he received a handwritten letter "from an elderly widow on the West Coast of Ireland," as she described herself.

She agreed with Surlis, she said, and enclosed "my poor attempt at composing a poem to let my family know of my wishes. ... I presume the Requiem Mass will get me to the 'Gates,' and that my CV may let me get a seat in the aisle or 'standing room only.' " Her poem is titled "Up-rooting":

As I will not see my last garment,
I will not parade in it.
It will cover me completely,
And I will not trouble you
By asking you does it suit my complexion,
Or does it fit properly at waist or hips.
I have always lived in the shade
(I am not material for star),
So I do not want any fanfare
When I am gone,
No flowers or wreaths, please,
As I will not be able to smell or see them.
One rose when I am living,
And a kind word when I am dying
Will suffice,
Before I meet my God
And present my credentials to him.

Her name is Mary Quinn.

-- Michael Farrell

National Catholic Reporter, January 31, 1997