Have your copy of “Holy Smokes! Golden Guidance from Notre Dame’s Championship Chaplain” signed personally by the author. Saturday, December 2nd 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Joe Theismann, a former Notre Dame and Super Bowl-winning Washington Redskins quarterback, described the university’s late sports chaplain, Fr. James Riehle, as a “rock-like” spiritual presence. “Holy Smokes! Golden Guidance from Notre Dame’s Championship Chaplain,” features a powerful Foreword from former national championship football coach Lou Holtz and devotes each chapter to a different way to improve your life. The book focuses on the life and winning advice of an influential priest, Fr. James Riehle, who the university’s late President Theodore Hesburgh eulogized at the chaplain’s 2008 funeral Mass as “one of the great ones at Notre Dame in a quiet way.”
The compelling, humorous and entertaining stories in the book will make for enjoyable reading. Anecdotes and endorsements for the book came from prominent athletes, coaches and broadcasters such as Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Reggie Brooks, “Rocket” Ismail, “Digger” Phelps, Ara Parseghian, Dick Vitale and others.
Fr. Riehle, a competitive athlete with a physical style of play who was the captain of his high school hockey team, became a priest at age 39. He appeared in the movie “RUDY,” when he said the “Hail Mary” prayer before the walk-on team member who was featured in the film played his only game. Fr. Riehle also played the role of a priest in an Adidas television commercial with Montana that aired many years ago. When asked how he felt about a member of the clergy offering the punch line, Montana, a four-time Super Bowl winner, said, “Don’t they always?”
Notre Dame’s championship chaplain won four national titles with three different head football coaches. He guided players, coaches, administrators and many others of various faiths and backgrounds to overcome adversity and become successful on and off the athletic field. Fr. Riehle took a key role in helping Notre Dame attain impressive athletic success and in limiting campus turmoil during the Vietnam War era when he headed discipline at the university and once stopped the ROTC building on campus from getting burned down by protestors.
Fr. Riehle’s niece, Sr. Mary Angela (Brucksch), is a Carmelite nun in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he visited a number of times to celebrate Mass. He once told his doctor after not feeling well that he was in the midst of such holiness when he visited the nuns that his system probably couldn’t stand it.