Pro Football Players Inspire During Father-Son Retreat

About 100 young men and their fathers gathered at St. Michael’s Abbey on Saturday for JSerra Catholic High School’s first-ever “Father-Son Retreat,” which featured a Q&A session with professional football legends Vince Ferragamo and John Carney.

NFL Legend Vince Ferragamo and Fr. Charbel Grbavac
NFL Legend Vince Ferragamo and Fr. Charbel Grbavac

Hosted by the Norbertine Priests and the JSerra Parent’s Assocation (JSPA), the retreat also included Mass, reflection and conversation around the topic, “Tough Men/Strong Faith.”

The NFL greats answered questions about how their Catholic faith inspired them in their careers and personal lives.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a few lives were changed,” said John O’Reilly, a group facilitator. “I found it to be very inspirational.”

At 44, New York Giants place-kicker Carney last year became the oldest player in NFL history selected to a Pro Bowl. He is also the top active scorer with 1,955 points.

Pro Bowl kicker John Carney
Pro Bowl kicker John Carney

In 1979-80, Ferragamo led the Los Angeles Rams to its first Super Bowl.

“The celebrities talked about how their faith was core to their success on and off the field,” O’Reilly said, “and they described the kind of coaches and culture that elicits respect.”

The Father-Son Retreat comes a month after another JSerra first: the JSPA Mother-Daughter Beach Party. More than 100 women gathered with two of the Carmelite Sisters who support JSerra for a similar afternoon of prayer and fellowship.

After hearing from the legends on Saturday afternoon, the JSerra men were ready to play some football.

The teams: Fathers versus sons.

O’Reilly said the fathers had a “ringer” who propelled them to victory: Game MVP Fr. Charbel Grbavac, who also led the retreat.

“JSPA and the Norbertine Fathers received a lot of positive feedback about the event,” O’Reilly said. “People kept coming up to me saying, ‘That was fantastic.’”

JSerra's Mother-Daughter Beach Party in April
JSerra's Mother-Daughter Beach Party in April