Much has been made of people kneeling during patriotic moments at football games. However, the kneeling going on in the final moments of Army’s historic victory over Navy on a Saturday night in Baltimore was a welcome sight, at least for the Black Knight hopeful.
West Point Chaplain, Fr. Matthew Pawlikowski, could be found on his knees, feet from the field, fiercely praying the Rosary for at least the last ten minutes of the game. In that time, Army took a commanding 21-17 lead — they stopped the ever-dangerous Midshipmen offense in their tracks and clung to the victory.
Father Pawlikowski happened to be praying with the very popular “Combat Rosary.” The spinning silver Combat Rosary never left Father Pawlikowski’s hands as he kissed it and kept his eyes shut tight, even as his team made crucial play after play and the audience roared.
The network kept panning over to Father Pawlikowski as he prayed and prayed and prayed.
Eventually, as the final seconds of the game ticked off the clock, Father Pawlikowski was pulled from his kneeling stance by the players he was praying for and brought to the field to celebrate. This was a “Real Hail Mary!”
Interesting enough, this year is the 100th Anniversary of the original World War I military rosary, that inspired the “Combat Rosary.” The original WWI rosary was commissioned and procured by, believe it or not, the U.S. government and issued by the military, upon request, to soldiers serving in World War I. Some of these rosaries were also seen in WWII. The solders usually referred to them as “Service Rosaries.” All of these rosaries were made in 1916.