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“The God Squad” Arrives at SJV

Paul Coburn, Sports Editor, Writer

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As part of the winter pep rally at Saint John Vianney High School, five students were selected to play in a pickup basketball game against priests from the Diocese of Trenton. Father Michael Wallack, Father John Michael Patilla, Father Thomas Vala, Father Dean Guadio, Father Augusto Gamalo, and Father Gregg Abadilla all participated in the game. The team of priests called themselves “The God Squad II.”

The purpose of the priests playing was to show the students that they are regular people that can do everyday activities just like us, such as playing basketball, and have the same interests and hobbies as us. “We listen to upbeat music and even watch the NBA,” Father Abadilla stated.

The players involved in the game put on a show for a packed gym full of students, making shots from all over the court, which kept the crowd interested. “It was awesome to see the priests play against my friends,” shared senior Jenna Fiorello. The student players were able to dribble around the older priests, who were having trouble keeping up with them. “We’ve never had time to practice, and we’re out of shape,” Father Gamalo jokingly said in defense.

One of the players participating in the game, Joe Todaro, a junior at SJV, was happy he got to be a part of it. Todaro said, “Being able to play against the priests was a fun experience, especially in front of the whole school.” Evan Perrette, a senior at SJV who watched from the stands, stated, “It was a lot of fun watching students play against the priests, and the whole crowd was into it.”

The game served a purpose greater than entertaining the crowd. “We decided sports could be a great avenue to promote vocations,” said Father Vala. The God Squad inspired the students who were watching them by advocating vocations in an activity that everyone can relate to and enjoy.

Click the link below to watch highlights from the pickup game!

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“The God Squad” Arrives at SJV