Bishop’s Charities Game to kick off Packers season

By Rachel Koepke | The Compass | July 27, 2017

Annual event benefitting Catholic Charities will be held Aug. 10

GREEN BAY — Packers fans are getting ready to rumble as football season rolls back around. The Green Bay Packers’ 2017-2018 pre-season will kick off with the Bishop’s Charities Game on Thursday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field.

Bishop David Ricken is pictured with Green Bay Packers Coach Mike McCarthy before the 2014 Bishop’s Charities Game. This year’s game benefiting Catholic Charities will take place Thursday, Aug. 10. Bishop Ricken and two former Packers players will be on hand before the game for photos and to sign autographs. (File Photo by Jill Hogan | For The Compass)

The Bishop’s Charities Game was started in 1961 by Packers head coach Vince Lombardi and Bishop Stanislaus Bona, the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay. Coming into its 57th year, the annual game has raised more than $3.9 million for various charities across the diocese.

Bishop David Ricken, along with Packers alumni Bill Ferrario and Chris Francies, will be available for autographs and pictures before the game. Interested fans should go to the Green Bay Diocese tent located on the fan walkway outside the Tundra Tailgate Zone on the southeast side of Lambeau Field, between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Photos will be taken by The Compass staff and available after the game, for free, on The Compass Flickr website.

The Bishop’s Charities Game provides an opportunity “to promote the diocese and be present among the people,” said Amy Kawula, advertising and marketing manager for The Compass. The game allows “fans to be able to come meet Bishop Ricken and (alumni) players, get their autographs and get their photos.”

Bill Ferrario, who wore number 63 during his career as a Packer, played collegiate football at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After redshirting his freshman year, he switched from playing defensive line to offensive line and went on to start every game of his career at Wisconsin.

At the time, he was only the third player in the history of the Big Ten to record 50 starts. While he was a Badger, the team won two Big Ten Championships and back-to-back Rose Bowl Championships. In 2001, he was drafted with the 105th overall pick by the Green Bay Packers as a guard. Following his career with the Packers, he played for the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers before retiring from the NFL in 2005.

Chris Francies attended the University of Texas El Paso. A four-year player and three-year starter, Francies was awarded the team’s offensive MVP his senior year. In 2006, he was an undrafted walk-on wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers. He played two seasons for the Packers, then played briefly for both the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers.

After his NFL career, he transitioned from outdoor to indoor football and played for the Utah Blaze and then the Georgia Force. Both teams were part of the Arena Football League, a professional indoor American football league.

As part of the Bishop’s Charities Game, Bishop Ricken will present a current Packers player with the award for Most Valuable Player from last year’s Charities Game. Accompanying Bishop Ricken on the field, along with several others, will be a local family who has been helped by Catholic Charities, thanks in part to generous donations from the Green Bay Packers.

“Having the family standing there to show somebody whom Catholic Charities has helped, rather than just talking about it, (has) added something,” Kawula said. “I would rather see who’s being helped than just being told someone’s helped.”

For more information about Catholic Charities and the work they do in the diocese, visit their website at

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