Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Our Grateful and Charitable Remembrance"

Upon the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior of the Revolution are inscribed these indelible words....
Beneath this stone rests
a soldier of Washington's Army
who died to give you liberty
Yet since most of us on these shores mark this weekend with barbeques and travel, the essence of Memorial Day is best captured by the supposed vanquished of that fight....

Sure, this holiday might formally be dedicated to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield. Even so, may we all take a moment to recall the many souls – known and unknown – who've given their lives to make the dream and promise of freedom a reality for us, both in this land and in this church. And to everyone who's on the road, safe travels and have a beautiful one.
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Meanwhile, as the largest, wealthiest and most influential parish he oversaw marks its 250th anniversary over these days, per house custom for the great civic feasts, here again is the Prayer for the Nation written and first delivered in 1791 by Stateside Catholicism's Founding Father, John Carroll, the Jesuit bishop of Baltimore....
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.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope Francis, 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[/her] 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.
Next November 6th marks the 225th anniversary of Carroll's appointment as the first head of the nation's mother-diocese, which at its establishment comprised all 25,000 Catholics in the 13 original states, and the 22 priests who served them across the vast turf.