(OSV News) — Kansas City Chiefs fans are looking forward to a Super Bowl victory parade Feb. 14 — but for Catholics, who mark Ash Wednesday that same day, “first place always goes to the Lord Jesus and what he’s done,” said Bishop James V. Johnston of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri.
On Feb. 11, the Chiefs became the first back-to-back Super Bowl champions in two decades, as they roared back from a 10-point deficit to best the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime in Super Bowl LVIII, which took place in Las Vegas.
Lent begins with a parade in Kansas City
Back in Kansas City, officials are set to throw a $1 million celebration on Feb. 14, with a two-mile parade starting at 11 a.m. and ending with a victory rally in front of Union Station.
Crowds are expected to be even larger this year than last, especially since singer Taylor Swift — who is dating Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce — may be in attendance.
In a Feb. 12 video message, Bishop Johnston said the team is in “rare company” with its historic wins, commending the Chiefs as being “a big part of our local community,” and noting that local faithful are “going to celebrate and rejoice in the Chiefs’ victory.”
However, said Bishop Johnston, “while we do rejoice with our hometown Chiefs, we’re going to rejoice even more in the Lord.”
A solemn day of fasting and prayer
He said that Ash Wednesday is “a very important day in our liturgical year, where we begin the holy season of Lent, in which we turn our minds and our hearts to the Lord, what he’s done, but also what he’s calling us to — a deeper conversion in our own lives so that we can be more faithfully his missionary disciples.
“It’s a day of fasting and abstinence and prayer. It’s a day when we go to Mass and receive ashes on our foreheads (and) go to holy Communion,” said Bishop Johnston.
“And so we’re going to focus on that as Catholics,” he said. “We’re identified by what we prioritize and what we celebrate.”
Bishop Johnston invited the faithful to reflect on how “Lent involves sacrifices, important sacrifices.”
As a result, he said, “we’re also giving up, in a sense, what other people are taking part in.”
“We’re in this together,” said Bishop Johnston. “I want to wish all of you a blessed Lent. … May it be a time of great graces and blessings for you.”