Sunday, January 19, 2003

Priest is rabid Eagles' fan

You might have seen Mike Matveenko at a recent Eagles game, wearing the winged helmet and green No. 12 jersey, joining his buddies in ritualistic chants from the 700 level of Veterans Stadium.

What you might not have known - unless you are a parishioner at the Church of the Assumption in Pomona - is that the Rev. Matveenko led a very different type of ritual earlier in the day. He is a Roman Catholic priest, a man of the cloth who answers to a higher authority than Andy Reid.

But that's not to say Matveenko can't mix the two faiths. He ends each Mass on Sunday morning with a heartfelt "Go Eagles!"

...Several of his parishioners jumped to his defense recently when another in their midst sent an anonymous letter to Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Camden diocese, complaining of Matveenko's "childish" behavior. Matveenko joked that the malcontent is "probably a Giants fan," but he defended his right to bring the Birds to God's attention.

"I never invoke the Lord to give us a win or anything like that," Matveenko said. "In my personal prayers, I pray that the spirit will inspire them to play their best and to avoid any serious injuries."

Two words:

Go Bucs.

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