Montreal’s Catholic Church urges Canadiens fans to pray for a miracle

It's been a tough year for the Montreal Canadiens. Pegged at the beginning of the season as a second-tier contender in the Eastern Conference, they've struggled with injuries and consistency, and their offense has sputtered, leading GM Pierre Gauthier to show a coach and a star forward the door. It's changed nothing. The Habs currently sit in 14th place, a point out of last in the East. It would take a miracle for this team to make the playoffs.

Hey, you know who does miracles? The Lord. Which is why Montreal's Catholic Church ran the ad above, urging Habs fans to pray for the Canadiens to snatch that eighth and final playoff spot. ("Prions" is French for "Let us Pray".) From TSN:

The Catholic church has placed an ad in Montreal newspapers today encouraging people to pray for an eight-place finish -- and a playoff spot -- for the Montreal Canadiens.

The ad shows the Eastern Conference standings with every team listed except the Canadiens. In eighth place, the final playoff spot, it simply says, "Let Us Pray."

Oh, Archdiocese of Montreal, you so crazy.

The ad is the brainchild of the Bos advertising agency, which works annually with the Archdiocese to put together an attention-getting collection campaign. Last April, the two organizations put up a billboard in front of the crumbling Champlain Bridge that read "Say Your Prayers."

This year, considering the absurd national scandal that surrounded the Canadiens' decision to hire a monolingual interim coach, working hockey into the campaign was probably holy wisdom. It'll definitely get talked about.

But if the Catholics truly believe God has the power to influence the standings, shouldn't they be praying for something better than an eighth-place finish? As the Bible succinctly states: go big or go home (it's somewhere in the Pentateuch).

Plus, seven is a much holier number than eight. It's the number of completion, after all. Why not pray for that? And now if the team finishes in the unholy six spot, the Catholics are going to have to wonder if they owe Satan a favor.

And speaking of owing deities favors, don't you think God might be a little hesitant to intervene again, what with how you unceremoniously traded his last holy miracle to St. Louis?

It might make more sense to just pay off an official. That's what the Devils are doing.

Frankly, I've never quite understood the reasoning behind praying for a sports team's success, and it has nothing to do with my belief in a higher power or lack thereof.

Rather, it's because, anytime you're begging God for a miracle, there are people in the opponents' city praying against you. Consider, for instance, Philadelphia's Father Mike Marrone and Sister Mary Joe, who believed the Flyers' Game 3 win in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final was a sign that God was on their side.

But then the Blackhawks won. Either this was further evidence of the incredible influence of Chicago's Willow Creek Community Church, or God doesn't particularly care who wins your sports contest.

God's inbox must get flooded with prayers from desperate sports fans every day, each one contradicting the last. I choose to assume they all end up in his spam folder.

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