MULLICA HILL, New Jersey (LifeSiteNews) — On Super Bowl Sunday, February 12, Father Joseph Pham, the parochial vicar of the Catholic Community of the Holy Spirit in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, wore vestments with the NFL and Philadelphia Eagles logos while he celebrated Mass.
While processing toward the altar, Pham could be seen wearing a custom-made football jersey chasuble. On the back was written “Father Joe” and the number three was displayed.
Because Pham celebrated Mass according to the Novus Ordo rubrics and calendar, the colors of the Philadelphia Eagles were close enough that the jersey-vestment was passable for the color green, which priests wear during “Ordinary Time.”
It is not clear whether wearing a football jersey to celebrate Mass constitutes liturgical abuse or sacrilege for priests who celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae in the Diocese of Camden. LifeSiteNews has sent an email to the parish and the diocese asking if it was appropriate to wear a football jersey to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
While it is true that images are often embroidered onto priestly vestments, they are generally of a religious nature and not images associated with professional sports teams. It may be particularly concerning for Catholics that Pham’s jersey-chasuble had the NFL logo embroidered on the chest. Mass attendees saw a commercial logo for a sporting organization that promotes so-called “Pride Month” each June while Pham elevated the Host during the consecration of the Holy Eucharist.
Engaging in homosexual activity has always been considered a mortal sin in the Catholic Church.
The parish bulletin for the Holy Spirit Community states that the parish welcomes Catholics “regardless of your present status with the Catholic Church.”
It is not clear if this means that the parish welcomes Catholics to simply attend Mass, or to partake in the Holy Eucharist regardless of status.
In addition, the bulletin states that it welcomes parishioners with alternative “sexual orientation[s] or gender identit[ies].”
It is forbidden for Catholics who are in an active state of adultery or same-sex union to approach Holy Communion in the Catholic Church.
Despite Pham’s support for the Philadelphia Eagles, they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs as faithful Catholic kicker Harrison Butker kicked the game-winning field goal to give the Chiefs their second Super Bowl win in four years.
Butker is known for his devotion to the Vetus Ordo or Traditional Latin Mass, which he participates in as an altar server when he isn’t on the road with the Chiefs.
He is fourth in NFL history in career field goal percentage, and has spoken out against Pope Francis’ suppression of the Traditional Latin Mass, saying that he believes traditional Catholics are “persecuted” due to their “love for the traditional rite.”