Bishop Donald Wuerl said the Steelers and the Rooneys have quietly bolstered the morale and financial welfare of the Pittsburgh Diocese for more than 70 years.
“Dan Rooney, though a private man who does nothing to promote himself, is a fixture in the diocese,” Bishop Wuerl said. “The Holy Family Institute, the Cardinal Wright Regional School, Catholic Charities — the list goes on and on. His faith and his values permeate the Pittsburgh Steelers organization which is the real reason why, win or lose, the Steelers are so important to our city and region.”
Though Pittsburgh may be the undisputed Notre Dame of professional football, it’s not the only team known for supporting the Church. New York Giants’ co-owner Wellington Mara, who died last year, was a daily communicant and a big contributor to Catholic causes in New York, for example.
To win this latest Super Bowl trip, the Steelers had to get past the Denver Broncos — a team owned by Catholic philanthropist Pat Bowlen. His team’s charity raised more than $1 million recently for the Capuchin order’s ministries to Denver’s poor and homeless. Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, a Capuchin Franciscan, was Bowlen’s guest for consecutive Super Bowl titles in ’98 and ’99.
“The Broncos and Pat Bowlen have been supportive of organizations in our archdiocese, and they’ve been very involved with the ministries of the Capuchins both at the Samaritan Shelter and in other ways,” Archbishop Chaput said. “As a Capuchin I’m very grateful.”