Minneapolis, MN: For some Minnesota Catholics, this past week has been supernaturally sweet.
It's one thing to watch Green Bay fans writhing and gnashing teeth over the retirement and reinstatement of star quarterback Brett Favre. But it gets better: he may play for the the Packers' arch-rival, the Minnesota Vikings.
The little known cause of this windfall, according to St. Aloysius Catholic Church, is deceased parishioner Emilia Neibuhr.
Emilia died ten years ago and was beloved by her family and parish. "A holier woman you never saw...she really was a kind, gentle saint," said her son, Max Neibuhr. "But she had one attachment to the world: Minnesota Vikings football. She never missed a game. We think she's behind all this."
This isn't wishful thinking. Her grandchildren have been actively promoting her cause to sainthood by encouraging parishioners to pray to Emilia to intercede to God, asking for the retired Favre to play for the enemy Vikings. "We wanted something the Vatican couldn't dispute as being a miracle, and this was it," said granddaughter Catherine. "I mean, Favre was the King of Green Bay. This is like seeing the Pharaoh in Exodus repent and give the Israelites run of Egypt! Grandma's holiness is pulling big strings behind the scenes, you betcha."
Her former pastor, Fr. John Billington, seems to agree, already calling Emilia "servant of God".
"As a priest, I cannot express my personal opinions on so heated a political topic...I can only speak to the principles within the controversy," he said. "But everyone knows that community-owned team in Wisconsin is a pack of commie socialist cheeseheads who hate subsidiarity and Pope Leo XIII. So... let your conscience be your guide."
"Ya, I'm rooting for Emilia," he smiled.
Favre could not be reached for comment.