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Archbishops’ friendly Super Bowl wager raises $22,000 for Catholic schools

CINCINNATI — The Los Angeles Rams may have won Super Bowl LVI over the Cincinnati Bengals, but students in Catholic schools in both archdioceses are winners as well.

Donors contributed more than $22,000 — and counting as of Feb. 17 — for tuition assistance scholarships as part of a friendly wager between Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Cincinnati over the game’s outcome.

The donations to each archdiocese’s Catholic Education Foundation came as the archbishops invited supporters to become involved in their good-gesture wager through the Bishops Big Game challenge.

In the Feb. 13 game, the Rams were behind in the third quarter and most of the fourth quarter, before scoring the winning touchdown with 1:25 left, beating the Bengals 23-20.

With the Rams’ victory, the Los Angeles foundation will receive 60 percent of the funds raised, while the Cincinnati foundation will received 40 percent of the money donated.

The game’s result also means Schnurr is sending a case of Cincinnati’s well-known Graeter’s ice cream cross country to Gomez.

The Los Angeles Archdiocese said that “out of gratitude” Gomez would send his wager of baked treats from the popular Porto’s Bakery to Schnurr.

Both archbishops said they will share their winnings with a school in their respective archdioceses.

“As we said before, our bet was with our Catholic school kids all the way,” Gomez said in a news release issued by both archdioceses. “They are always winners in our book! We want the kids to get in on the fun to celebrate great sportsmanship of both the Rams and the Bengals who gave us such an exciting game, and the generous support of all those who donated to the Bishops Big Game challenge.”

Schnurr commended the teams for a closely played game and thanked the fans of both teams for “their generous donations in support of Catholic education.”

“Archbishop Gomez and I are grateful for the generosity of the people of our respective archdioceses and thank everyone who joined us in our friendly wager,” he said in the news release. “We are delighted to celebrate this moment with at least some of our wonderful Catholic school students, teachers and staff members. … A win for all around!”

Plans call for Gomez to celebrate the Rams’ victory with an ice cream party March 1 at St. John Chrysostom School in Inglewood, California, located near SoFi Stadium, where the Super Bowl was played.

Schnurr will bring the baked goods from Los Angeles to Our Lady of Rosary School in Dayton, Ohio, also March 1, the day before Ash Wednesday.