UP Catholic 09 01 2017 E Edition Page 14

BY JIM LAJOIE THE U.P. CATHOLIC The Green and Gold. The memories. The aura of historic Lambeau Field. For as long as Father Allen Mott can remember, the Green Bay Packers have held a very special place in his heart. Ive been a fan since I was a young child. My mom and dad are Packer fans and lived through the glory years, said Father Mott, a native of Hyde in Delta County who is currently the pastor at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Gwinn, the Mission of St. Joseph in Northland and the St. Francis Connection Center in Saw- yer. I grew up in the (quarterback) Lynn Dickey and (coach) Lindy Infante era. So, I have nothing to compare it (glory years) to. Why be a Packer fan? For Father Mott, its quite simple. The thing I love best is its owned by the people. How can you go wrong with a team that is not owned by someone, like Jerry Jones (Cowboys), he said. For me, that's the ticket. I find that most alluring. Father Mott, who received a Masters of Divinity degree from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Ill., said being a Packers fan means cherish- ing scores of fabulous memories. When I was a freshman or sophomore in college, my younger brother and I had the opportunity to take my parents Harley (motorcycle) and we met up with dad who was a truck driver, said Father Mott, who was ordained in 2003. One of the places we visited was the Packer Hall of Fame. Ive been to four Packer games in my life. I was at the game against the Lions when (former running back) Barry Sand- ers fumbled the ball a number of times. I remember it was really, really cold. I also remember being at a Halloween game and there were a bunch of masks of (former coach) Mike Holmgren in the stands, added Father Mott, 43. And, like 2004 or 2005, I remember the Heisman Trophy on loan and being dis- played for the people. Thats a powerful memory. Thats a player who gives back to the community and puts the Heisman on display for the people. Perhaps Father Motts fondest memory occurred a few years ago when a handful of Packers and management made their way to Marquette. They sold memorabil- ia, with proceeds benefiting the Bay Cliff Health Camp, a non-profit organization that works with children with disabilities. I was invited to be a part of a private group before the tour and had an op- portunity to meet all of the players, he proudly recalls, Jim Taylor (legendary fullback from 1958 to 1966) was there with his wife. I asked him if he could sign a football for my dad to give him for Christmas. He was a classy guy he really took the time to talk with me. I was really impressed that he treated me like a fellow person. Packer traditions? Father Mott says traditions, of which there are many, set the Packers apart from a number of other NFL teams. Theyre so good at supporting the com- munity. They work with other non-profits to better the community. To me, those are things, in the big scheme of things, that are more important than winning games, he said. The Packers have provided a signed team ball for nearly the past 15 years for the Gwinn St. Vincent De Paul fundraiser. The other thing I really love is the Lambeau Leap. Instead of spiking the ball, they celebrate a touchdown with their fans. Thats what its about the ca- maraderie with the fan base and making them part of the experience. Although he loves the Packers, Father Mott said God remains number one on Sundays. As much as I love watching the Pack- ers, the faith takes precedence, he said. If I can watch them play, I do. Other times, there are things much more im- portant. Although the Packers and his weekly homily rarely, if ever, intersect, Father Mott said that referencing the Packers or sports in his message can sometimes serve as a viable connecting piece to some parishioners that otherwise may not exist. I often refer to scripture, but if there is a story that helps bring out the point, Im not opposed to using an example from sports because some people can relate to that, he said. That can help bring out a point. I remember one year when I shot a buck during hunting season and there was a guy in church who had never said a word to me. He saw my picture with the buck in the bulletin and started talking to me because he had something to relate to me, Father Mott said. Im always thank- ful for things like that. Im very thank- ful for the gifts God has given me and thankful for the gifts from other priests that allow us to relate to different people in different ways. As the Packers embark on the 2017 season with hopes of reserving an ex- tended stay in Minneapolis during Super Bowl week in February, Father Mott is cautiously optimistic about the teams fortunes. When you have a great quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, you come in hope- ful, he said. The Packers have done a great job of developing and honing their talent. We can always do well, but inju- ries have been our biggest downfall. They have done so well and it makes you appreciate it. But I do know in my heart its only a game. 14 September 1, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC BLACK AND BLUE www.upcatholic.org Cabin on the lake, Gwinn, MI 3 Bedroom, 2 full baths & Sauna. Call 906-226-8079 for weekly rates or judithwebb@charter.net http://webpages.charter.net/webbcamp/WebbCamp.htm Celebrating our 50th Year!" COOPER OFFICE EQUIPMENT Full Copier Line From Tabletop To Networkable Digital Laser Systems (906) 228-6929 Phone 800-432-7682 Fax 800-908-8542 Purchase & Lease Options Authorized KONICA Printers-Copiers Dealer COURTESY PHOTO In the mid-2000's, Father Allen Mott, second from left, organized a vocations trip to Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., and stopped by historic Lambeau Field on the way. Father Robb Jurkovich, pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Ironwood, stands behind Father Mott. Tradition, family ties draw priest to Packers We're online! Visit us at: The U.P. Catholic Newspaper www.upcatholic.org Facebook www.facebook.com/ theupcatholic Twitter www.twitter.com @theupcatholic YouTube www.youtube.com/ user/theupcatholic

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