Wisconsin walking tour makes connections between faith and football
Published: September 6, 2012
GREEN BAY, Wis. (CNS) -- Green Bay Packers fans who check out the new Packers Heritage Trail will discover a number of Catholic sites that have ties to the team's history. The trail, designed as a self-guided walking tour, features 22 commemorative plaques located within a two-mile radius of downtown Green Bay. Seventeen plaques are part of a city walk. Five others are a part of self-guided bike tours. One of the city's sites is St. Willebrord Church, known to many as the church where former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi attended Mass. Cliff Christl, a Green Bay native and longtime sportswriter who developed the idea for the tour, said St. Willebrord was an easy choice for the trail but he didn't know if placing a plaque on church property would be possible. Norbertine Father Andy Cribben, pastor at St. Willebrord, said he was initially skeptical of the plaque but the text, which connects faith with the history of the Packers, convinced him it was worth it. The text describes Lombardi's connection to the church along with parish history and information about Norbertine Father David Rondou, who was pastor at St. Willebrord during the Lombardi years. Christl said Lombardi immediately built a relationship with Father Rondou especially since they shared a common sports bond. The priest served as athletic director at St. Norbert College in the early 1930s. "I was told that Father Rondou never prayed for the Packers to win, but he did pray for the Bears to lose on occasion," said Father Cribben.
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