Seattle Seahawks No. 72, offensive tackle Abraham ”Abe“ Lucas — a self-described ”hard-core Catholic“ — is pictured in 2022 during a game against the Atlanta Falcons. OSV News photo/Saskia Potter, courtesy Seattle Seahawks

Football’s the dream, but faith is his focal point

By  Jean Parietti, OSV News
  • October 28, 2023

SEATTLE -- In his second year as an offensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, Abraham “Abe” Lucas is living his childhood dream. Even so, it’s faith, not football, that’s the most important thing for this self-described “hard-core Catholic.”

“It’s my focal point, it drives everything that I do — my faith and my relationship with Jesus Christ,” said Lucas, who grew up near Everett. “It's my purpose.”

At 6-foot-6 and 322 pounds, Lucas is someone you wouldn’t want to tangle with on the football field. Off the field, he’s been described as a “gentle giant,” considerate and loyal. Currently on injured reserve, Lucas, 25, is approachable, open and honest — willing to share his struggles in life and eager to talk about being Catholic.

“He’s experienced his own crosses, his own sufferings, but Christ has always been at the centre of his life and how he tries to live his life,” Fr. Paul Heric, Lucas’ pastor at the St. Thomas More Catholic Student Center at Washington State University, said in a video.

Lucas considers his whole life a ministry, and believes football is what he’s “called to do at this moment.” He never misses weekend Mass, and he tries to pray the rosary daily (sometimes on the team plane), go to confession weekly and attend weekday Mass as often as he can.

He doesn’t shy away from sharing his faith in the locker room and feels called “to spread the Word of God as much as possible” — never pushing, “but if the conversation gets opened up and someone is curious about it, I’ll absolutely share what it is that I know.”

Lucas is “so grounded in his faith that he can bravely walk into conversations and say exactly what we’re all about” without offending anyone, said Deacon Dennis Kelly, who was campus minister at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett during part of Lucas’ time there. “He’s just a great evangelist.”

And Lucas speaks volumes about being Catholic through the images tattooed on his arms. They include Christ crowned with thorns, the Virgin Mary, St. Michael the Archangel fighting the devil, a skull representing human mortality and Christ’s victory over death, and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Indigenous American to be canonized. (His paternal great-grandmother was part Indigenous, and he admires St. Kateri’s commitment to God.)

When teams interviewed Lucas before the 2022 NFL draft, some asked where football falls on his list of priorities. Probably third, he told them, after his faith and his family.

“This is my job now ... and I love what I do and I’m thankful for it,” said Lucas. “But if I had to pick between God and football, I would pick God 10 times out of 10. It’s not that hard of a decision to make. Some people don’t understand that because not everybody has faith.”

The seeds of Lucas’ faith were planted and nurtured by his parents, Kelly and Julie, longtime members of St. Thomas More Parish in Lynnwood, a Seattle suburb.

At home, the family prayed the rosary every night. His parents also emphasized “receiving the sacraments as much as possible, especially the Eucharist,” Lucas said.

In college, Lucas was an active participant in campus ministry.

“Whenever I would do adoration or the rosary, he would be there,” Kelly said. And when he arrived to pray with the football team before their games, it was Lucas who settled the players “into a prayerful space.”

When his family dropped him off for his first year at WSU, Lucas realized that keeping his faith strong was now up to him. It was something his parents had emphasized to their kids as they grew up: “When you get out into the real world, don’t lose (the faith) because there’s a lot of distractions,” Lucas said.

He finally understood what they were talking about as he dealt with all the distractions and temptations that come with college life. He decided to preserve his faith, picking up where he left off at home by going to Mass every weekend.

Living a Catholic life isn’t always easy, he said, and he may not always feel motivated or succeed in his efforts. But serving God by living his faith “is nothing more than my duty to God on this earth.”

“The beauty of it is that I only get closer and closer to God and His heavenly kingdom when I live in the way I’ve been called,” said Lucas.

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