Fr. Olivier shares love of cinnamon gum

By Aakash Jain ’14

For around the last 20 years, the Rev. Fr. Harry Olivier, S.J. has served as the football team’s chaplain.

In this role, Fr. Olivier leads Masses and team prayers in the chapel before and after games.

“When I first came, I was not the chaplain of the football team. I just used to go to the games,” Fr. Olivier said. “After the chaplain was reassigned to hospital work, I took over.”

In addition to his usual duties, Fr. Olivier has started a unique tradition involving Dentyne cinnamon gum.

“The Dentyne gum with cinnamon is something very difficult to find, so somebody got it through email through a factory,” Fr. Olivier said. “It has always been my favorite since I was a kid. Then I realized that others on the sidelines might like Dentyne gum, so in that sense it’s become something of a tradition.”

Over time, Fr. Olivier has extended this tradition to other sports in addition to football.

“I first noticed it when I was at a baseball game and Fr. Olivier came around with a packet of Dentyne cinnamon gum,” said Mr. Chris Calderon, S.J. “He was handing it to all the coaches, and then I realized as I talked to him and I watched him at other games—football and basketball—he has this tradition.”

Mr. Calderon said this simple exchange has become important not only to Fr. Olivier but the coaches as well.

Fr. Olivier just walks up to a coach, and he doesn’t even say anything,” Mr. Calderon said. “He just has an open packet of gum, coach takes it, there’s a little nod, Fr. Olivier nods and then there’s just something like everything is right in the world because, ‘I have my Dentyne gum.’ It’s a neat little tradition that he does.”

Mr. Calderon added that the gum has become increasingly difficult to find and some of the Jesuits buy it online in bulk.

“It’s kind of a short tradition but still a tradition,” Fr. Olivier said. “So when I’m on the sidelines, people look at me and I reach into my pocket and give it to them. Coach Molander always has his before he goes out onto the field.”