LACKAWANNA, NY (WKBW) — As Buffalo Bills fans gear up for Saturday’s big game against the New England Patriots, we take a look at the origins of a famous play in football.
Many fans are familiar with the Hail Mary, a long passing play, like the one that ended the Bills-Colts wild-card game last year.
At Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna we find out about the story behind the Hail Mary pass.
“When you look at the top of the dome — here — there are four trumpeting angles and they're there to trumpet victory to all four corners of the world, and it is surrounded by Our Lady of Victory,” remarked Monsignor David LiPuma, pastor, OLV.
When the Venerable Father Nelson Baker had OLV Basilica built in 1926 he made sure the grand structure incorporated a great devotion to Mother Mary.
“It goes back to 1571 in the battle of Lepanto in Europe when the christians were going to be attack by the Turks. At that time Pope Pius V invoked all of Europe to pray the rosary when this battle was about to take place because the christian forces were much less then the Turk forces,” LiPuma explained.
“All of Europe was praying the rosary and successfully we won the war and Christianize Europe, so from that day on the feast day of October 1571 became Our Lady of Victory,” LiPuma said.
Monsignor LiPuma says as Mary is the symbol of victory, the Hail Mary eventually transferred into college football.
“But apparently back at Notre Dame University, in the 30's when they were trying to make those last stitch passes and all was hopeless. They threw the pass at the end and prayed the Hail Mary and it became the Hail Mary pass,” LiPuma noted.
Then the Hail Mary pass weaved its way into the NFL.
“It was the Vikings-Cowboys game in 1975, when Roger Staubuck, I believe was the quarterback and apparently at the end he threw that pass and he closed his eyes — and prayed the Hail Mary and they won the game — that's when it really took off,” LiPuma declared.
Second graders from OLV grade school joined Monsignor LiPuma to pray the Hail Mary all dressed in their Bills attire to cheer on the team.
“There's a great spirit here always — everybody is on fire with the Bills right now. We're so excited and always — may the best team win,” LiPuma remarked.
“Are you excited for the team? Buckley asked. “Yes!” responded Jayln Velez.
“Any predictions? Do you think they are going to win?” Buckley questioned. “Yeah,” replied Elia Morales.
And so these young Buffalo Bills fans are asking Mother Mary for little ‘divine intervention'.
“Our Lady of Victory!” declared Monsignor LiPuma. “Pray for us,” replied the students. “Go Bills, go Bills, go Bills,” they shouted.
“Our blessed Mother loves Father Baker and we know she loves Western New York because of Father Baker — I believe that God always listens to his mother, so we are praying for a victory on Saturday night,” Monsignor LiPuma.