The following comes from a May 17 posting on

Alabama native Philip Rivers (born in Decatur, raised in Athens), quarterback of the San Diego Chargers, is a devout Catholic, a husband and father of seven.

On May 17, the North Carolina State University graduate received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters and delivered the 125th annual commencement address at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Rivers spoke from the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the United States’ national Catholic church (not to be confused with the National Cathedral in D.C., which is Episcopalian).

Here’s what he had to say:

….Although I had been on ESPN and other national TV broadcasts throughout my career, my mother once told me when I appeared on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock” that I had really made it to the “big time.” Now, with this opportunity to be a part of this year’s commencement exercises here at The Catholic University of America, I’ve really arrived. What makes it even more special is being on the steps of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I was born on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

I want to share a Latin phrase with you that is very special to me, and that I think we all can and should apply to our everyday lives. I felt so strongly about this phrase, we adopted it as a team, and had it on t-shirts and on the walls throughout our practice facility. It is a Latin phrase. Nunc Coepi. Now I begin. In our prayer, in our habits, in our relationships, in our profession. It is applicable to everything. Nunc Coepi (Now I begin). Whether you made a bad grade or didn’t do so well on a project. You must begin again. When I have a bad play or a good play, whether I throw a touchdown or an interception, I must begin again. Nunc Coepi….it certainly applies to you graduates who now are beginning the next chapter in your lives. You now begin. But this is ongoing. You begin again, and again and again. You never give up. Nunc Coepi.

Nunc Coepi. I can’t quite put the Latin twang on it. It’s more of an Alabama twang. But it gets the job done. Remember that phrase and reflect on it as I continue.

….You may find this hard to believe, but I’m pretty passionate about football. I hide it pretty well on Sunday afternoons. (Just kidding.) Of course I’m passionate about football. It has meant so much to me. Football means time with my dad. I grew up around my dad’s football team. I was the water boy, ball boy, and longed for the time when I would get to be his quarterback. What an experience it was. We share so many great memories together. Even now, I call him almost daily to analyze the previous game, discuss the next opponent, or just simply talk ball. He and I can and do talk about everything, but there’s something special about talking football with my dad.

….Another priority of mine is my family. I’ve already mentioned my dad. I was blessed with a loving, supportive mom and dad who taught me the value of family. I now have been married to my wonderful wife Tiffany 13 years, and have seven beautiful children–five girls and two boys. We are outnumbered. There is no shortage of entertainment at our house, to say the least. What a blessing each of ‘em are.

When I come home from a road game, it’s not cameras and microphones, autographs and photos, or jeers and heckling. It’s bikes and scooters and sidewalk chalk all over the place. Win or lose, those seven children and my wife love me for being Dad and husband. My family keeps it all in perspective. Although I will say, as my oldest son is getting older, I do get questioned sometimes when I have an off game or throw an interception. He asked me recently, “Dad, why did you throw it to that guy?” People often ask about my hobbies…Golf, fishing, whatever? My favorite hobbies are playing with the kids in the yard, endless hours of wiffleball, swimming in the pool, walks to the park–all nine of us together, that’s what I love to do….

Lastly, I can’t tell you about my priorities, my foundation, what defines me, without telling you about my faith. My Catholic faith. C.S. Lewis said this about Christianity, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

My faith is the most important thing in my life. I was an altar boy as a child. I cherished the opportunity to be that close and involved in the celebration of the Eucharist. The one very basic fundamental of our faith that was instilled in me as a young boy from my parents, was to never miss Mass on Sunday. This was so instilled and lived out by our family as I was growing up, that when I got to college and was officially on my own, missing Mass was not an option.

To read the entire posting, click here.