"Mighty Lord, Preserve Us...."
Even if it wasn't written until 70 years after the fact, as this year marks the bicentenary of the events behind what's become a cherished staple of Independence Day on these shores, we'd be remiss to not start 2012's edition of the Big 4th Show without it....
And speaking of bells, as the national Fortnight for Freedom approaches its climax, the US bishops have asked the parishes of the country to ring theirs at Noon Eastern/9am Pacific tomorrow. (For the record, the Angelus changes don't count. And sorry, country fans, neither does blaring Martina.)
While the bench's request made no reference to cannons, the way things have been running of late, odds are at least some venues will seek to make the attempt.
If you do, send video... speaking of which, in his major message for these "two weeks of prayer... for [this] first, most cherished freedom," here's the full frame of the cardinal-president of the US bishops, speaking at an early-morning weekday Mass from his seat in St Patrick's Cathedral:
We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.On a final historic note -- lest the many spats of these days be irking anybody too much -- it's worth recalling that, when he delivered the preceding prayer, the community for which Carroll was ordained had been suppressed by papal decree, only to be restored several years later.
We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.
We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.
We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state , for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.
We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.
Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance.
To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.
That said, again, gang, a blessed and Happy 4th.