Jan 23, 2013, 8:41 AM EDT
Following a trip to Rome and the Vatican over winter break, Father Pete McCormick, chaplain of the Notre Dame men’s basketball team, returned to South Bend with a pleasant surprise for the players, coaches, and support staff. After joining Pope Benedict XVI in an evening prayer on New Year’s Eve, Father Pete had several medals depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe blessed by the Pope as he passed through at the conclusion of the prayer.
Father Pete felt the need to bring back something a little extra special to the States because his return flight interfered with his usual pre-game Mass said one day prior to each home game. In this case, it was the BIG EAST opener against Seton Hall back on January 5th.
“I went to a religious goods shop right next to the Vatican and I bought these medals of Our Lady of Guadalupe,” explained Father Pete. “Saturday morning when I got back, I had breakfast with the team and handed them out. I didn’t want to buy the standard medals for the guys. I needed to get them something a little extra.”
The players immediately recognized the uniqueness of the medals, having received an article filled with deeper meaning than the pictorial representation itself. Jack Cooley later informed Father Pete that his mom had stolen the medal after hearing it had been blessed by the Pope. “I was heartened by the team’s reaction. They were genuinely appreciative and it meant a lot to them.”
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