Fr. Marty Michniewicz is praying for a 'hawks victory Wednesday night.
The Calumet City pastor says he is careful about how he is praying for a Stanley Cup win. To avoid a competition with prayerful Flyers fans on who is praying more or who loves God more, Fr. Marty says he is praying that God gives the Blackhawks players the will to win.
Fr. Marty grew up in Orland Park and is a lifelong Blackhawks fan. The robe the almost 50-year-old priest sports these days has the name Hossa on the back. His small rectory office is appropriately adorned in red and black.
"I was good at floor hockey. I can't skate but I still love hockey. It's been a passion of mine since I was younger, it was my number one sport," said Rev. Marty Michniewicz.
It's a sport that he still loved during the Blackhawks' many lean years. Fr. Marty collects jerseys from teams he supported during Stanley Cups finals when the 'hawks never came close. The Flyers have never been part of his collection.
"I loved the New Jersey Devils. Forgive me, Lord, it has nothing to do with the name but I like their goalie, Martin Brodeur," said Fr. Marty.
For the past 17 years, Fr. Marty's passion is well known with his parishioners at St. Andrew the Apostle parish. Most of his 'hawks paraphernalia are gifts, including a 'hawks street sign that sits between the rectory and the church. The pastor's office is filled with jerseys, bobble heads, pictures and a statue of Jesus playing hockey with children.
Fr. Marty is known, once in a while, to invoke hockey into his sermon, especially when talking about the importance of teamwork.
"It's is just like a hockey team, I'll say. I'll say you need your goalies, your finesse players. They all form a team. As a parish, we all have something to offer and something to form the body of Christ, the church, the team, whatever," said Fr. Marty.
While he loves the 'hawks, this man of Blackhawk cloth says it's important to put his passion for hockey in perspective.
"It's not the most important thing in my life. Obviously, God and my family, but sometimes after a rough day it's nice to sit down and watch a good hockey game, especially when the 'hawks win," said Fr. Marty calls the Blackhawks players the most well rounded and selfless team he has seen in years. He is packing up his hockey collectables and after 17 years in Calumet City he is heading to a church in Palos Heights. This Sunday is his last sermon at St. Andrew the Apostle Church.