Catholic High schools renew rivalry Print this post

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

9/6/17

Prior to the annual rivalry game between Cardinal Mooney and Bishop Verot Catholic High Schools the men gathered for Mass together.

Football players from Bishop Verot Catholic High School Vikings of Fort Myers (left) and the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Cougars of Sarasota gather for Mass with Bishop Frank J. Dewane prior to a rivalry game on Aug. 25 in Fort Myers. Cardinal Mooney won 40-20.

While a game-day Mass for the football team is a tradition at both Catholic High Schools, Cardinal Mooney in Sarasota and Bishop Verot in Fort Myers, it was in 2014 when Bishop Frank J. Dewane started the new tradition of having a joint Mass when the teams played each other.

Present for the Aug. 24 Mass were the High School Chaplains, Father Casey Jones of the host Bishop Verot, and Father Matthew Grady of Cardinal Mooney.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane receives gifts presented during an Aug. 25 Mass for the football teams of host Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers and Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota.

Bishop Dewane said the Mass serves as an important reminder for the young men of their common faith and respect they must have for each other as brothers in Christ. The Mass was celebrated in honor of St. Sebastian who is the Patron of Athletes.

The Bishop Verot Catholic High School Vikings of Fort Myers (in black) face off against the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Cougars of Sarasota during a rivalry game on Aug. 25 in Fort Myers. Cardinal Mooney won 40-20.

The Bishop Verot players and coaches each wore a dress shirt and tie to Mass, while the Cardinal Mooney players wore matching white dress shirts and red ties to correspond to the school colors. As has become the traditions at the Mass, the two sides seem to compete by responding with more enthusiasm than the other side.

Bishop Dewane emphasized that men must remain committed to their Faith even when football or other distractions may try to pull them away. “If you were ill or injured, you would make every effort to practice and participate in games. Your desire and commitment to your faith and going to Mass each Sunday should be greater. It is a sign of your love for God. Recognize that God works in you.”

The young men were told by Bishop that they are blessed to have certain athletic gifts but more importantly, they have been blessed to be Men of God. “Remember that you are part of the works of the Lord. Know that you may be good athletes, but you must turn to Christ to help you become great men.”

Bishop Frank J. Dewane watches the Bishop Verot Catholic High School versus Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School football game on Aug. 25 in Fort Myers from the Verot sidelines with Verot Chaplain Father Casey Jones (left) and Diocese Vocations Director Father Eric Scanlan.

The Cardinal Mooney Cougars jumped out to a 24-0 advantage Friday night, rolling to a 40-20 victory at Vikings Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

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