Father Richard Rocha answers the timeless question: "Should we pray for a win?"
As Kansas City prepares for its team’s second Super Bowl appearance in as many years, one news outlet asked their Catholic chaplain to weigh in. Answering the timeless question of whether or not to pray for a win, Fr. Richard Rocha advises fans and faithful alike to avoid “the W-word.”
“I never say the W-word. That almost sounds like it’s a bad word, but it’s not.”Father Rocha told 41 Action News in a recent interview. The statement reflects the sentiments he offered in a 2020 interview with The Examiner, before the KC Chiefs’ 2020 Super Bowl victory. Last year, Fr. Rocha said:
“When I was coaching, I never prayed that we win the game, but I did and still do pray that both teams have no serious injuries and that they both play well. And then I pray that we play better and make fewer mistakes than our opponent.”
The humanity of athletes
Father Rocha referred to his experiences coaching football at the high school and college level, jobs he held prior to becoming a priest. A life-long fan of the sport, before coaching Rocha had striven for a career as an athlete. Now his time on the gridiron has brought valuable perspective to his work as a priest. Of competitors on both sides, he reminded fans:
“They’re human,” Rocha said. “Even though they’re in the spotlight, they need Christ.”
When asked if God cares about football, Fr. Rocha answered with a resounding “yes.” It’s not that God has any particular leanings as a fan, but rather that He supports all his faithful, regardless of their team. He noted that it’s not uncommon for players to make the sign of the cross or drop to a knee after scoring. Fr. Rocha told 41 Action News:
“There’s so many men out there on the field, that walk out on that field, and they care a lot about that sport,” Rocha said. “If they care a lot about that and they wanna serve God, then, yeah, God cares a lot about that.”
Along with his duties as a parish priest, Father Rocha has been the Catholic chaplain to the Kansas City Chiefs for the last four years. In the spring and summer months he takes on the additional duties of chaplain to the Royals. Somehow, he also finds time to broadcast daily Mass from his parish.