AUBURN – Down the road from arguably the most conservative student body in the nation, Mass concluded Sunday with loud applause after acknowledgment that Auburn would play for the national title. After a week of greeting Alabama fans with, “Do you have a second, I need to run something past you?” the Congregation was thrilled, but their reaction paled in comparison to an announcement about God’s call.
Football has called attention to Auburn University, whose student body was ranked by one publication, The Princeton Review, as the most conservative in the nation, ahead of even Hillsdale, the military academies, and the most conservative Catholic schools like the University of Dallas and Thomas Aquinas.
While some area churches such as Lakeview Baptist and Auburn United Methodist are bigger and AME Zion is even closer to the stadium, ESPN and the New York Times interviewed St. Michael’s pastor Monsignor William Skoneki, who first labeled the “immaculate deflection.” His quote has now turned into the pictured t-shirt, which is available on Auburn’s campus or on-line by clicking here.
Skoneki and the 20-something Rev. Victor Ingalls, whose popular homilies are accessed on-line by Auburn students, allow members of the Congregation to announce “good things” just prior to the conclusion of Mass. The applause for the national title game and the one Michigan State alum who was in attendance was much louder than a dozen announcements about birthdays and anniversaries, but it did not merit the standing ovation that was to come.
However, anyone who says the South’s religion is college football would have done well to hear the reaction of the almost 1000 in attendance for the announcement minutes later from a father that his daughter would leave from Mass to answer “God’s call” by driving to a convent where she would spend the rest of her life. The thunderous applause was much louder than that for the football-related news, and compelled all in attendance to stand for a long ovation during when some tears were shed.
The religion of the South is still… well religion.