Upon the conclusion of the 2012-2013 season, owner of the New Orleans Hornets, Tom Benson, announced that he had officially changed the nickname of the team to the Pelicans. I did not think much about it at the time. I thought that it was appropriate; the pelican is the Louisiana State Bird; but gave it no other thought.
Until…my husband and I visited the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. The Temple is throughout designed to give glory, honor, and praise to our Lord. Every feature of this Temple was carefully thought out from the angels to the intricate marble flooring, the 55 foot, 24 carat gold-leafed sanctuary wall, to the main altar.
My eyes were jetting back and forth between multiple beautiful and glorious objects when I caught sight of the image on the main altar. My goodness, it was a Pelican! I did not understand the significance of this image until I later picked up and read a Shrine brochure.
The brochure states, “The altar is inlaid with a glass and gold mosaic of a pelican, piercing its breast to feed its young. It was long believed that if a pelican could not find food to feed its young, it would sacrifice itself to nourish them with its own blood. The pelican is considered a symbol of Christ and His Sacrifice on Calvary. The pelican is ofter depicted on altars, since it is from the altar that we are fed the very Body and Blood of our Lord.”
I was stunned. All these years living in a state where the pelican is the state bird and on the state flag and I had never heard of the pelican being a symbol of Christ. I quickly shared this discovery with my husband, who promptly stated that we needed to thank Tom Benson. I gave him a puzzled look, and he explained that Tom Benson had named the Hornets the Pelicans, and now the state of Louisiana had not only the Saints but also the Pelicans. Of course…..Saints….Pelicans….now I saw a great significance in this new name!
So, thank you Tom Benson!
When I see and hear of the Pelicans, it will forever more remind me of my Lord and his great sacrifice for me and for all of mankind.