Archbp. Carroll’s “Prayer for Government”

The following prayer was composed by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, in 1791. He was the first bishop appointed for the United States in 1789 by Pope Pius VI. He was made the first archbishop when his see of Baltimore was elevated to the status of an archdiocese.

John was a cousin of Charles Carroll of Maryland, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

More than ever today….

PRAYER FOR GOVERNMENT 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 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.

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12 Responses to Archbp. Carroll’s “Prayer for Government”

  1. DocJim says:

    Archbishop Carroll was not only the first Catholic bishop for the fledgling U.S., he was active in the early prosecution of the war effort by the Continental Congress. Charles Carroll, his Jesuit cousin John Carroll, Benjamin Franklin and another Marylander were sent by the Continental Congress to Canada to try to enlist them in the Independence movement. John Carroll (and early on, Charles Carroll) had been educated privately in Maryland and then in France. They both spoke French comfortably.
    When the Canadians were cool to the idea. Young John Carroll accompanied the elder Benjamin Franklin back to Philadelphia, serving as Franklin’s escort.

    He wasn’t just a fine man with a fine prayer. He deserves more recognition than that—though I seldom see it.

  2. Augustine Terra Mariae says:

    Sadly, Archbishop Carroll’s prayer was not used at Mass today, Sunday, July 4, in the cathedral he built, now the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Co-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. [The ‘script’ is the same at all Sunday Masses there.]

  3. bookworm says:

    “He deserves more recognition than that—-though I seldom see it”

    There is a stained glass window at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Ill. that depicts George Washington sending Archbishop Carroll off on his mission to win the French Canadians to the Patriot cause. Unfortunately I can’t find a photo of it online right now. But it’s beautiful. It was created by noted stained glass artist Thomas O’Shaughnessy of Chicago in 1926.

    Right next to it is another window that shows Abraham Lincoln sending Bishop John Hughes to France to talk Napoleon III out of recognizing the Confederacy. You can see a picture of it at this link:

    http://www.romeofthewest.com/2007/09/photos-of-cathedral-of-immaculate.html

    These pictures were taken prior to a recent renovation, however, the interior has (thankfully) changed very little except for being all shiny and new.

    These were among a series of windows that depict great moments in the history of Catholicism in America up to the late 1920s, when the cathedral was built.

  4. Maltese says:

    Great stuff!

    We might not agree with everything our Country does or has done, but it has birthed us, clothed us, fed us, educated us, and done the same for our children; and more than this, it has given me the ability to be the Traditionalist Catholic that I am, which, world-over, I would not have the ability to do but for this Country. As an aside, a distant relative of mine, Betsy Ross, supposedly designed the American Flag who all should proudly hail. Despite her faults, I love this Country (perhaps to a fault)!

  5. GirlCanChant says:

    Our pastor read this at Benediction today. It is an awesome prayer.

  6. kat says:

    I wish it would still be said after High Masses. It is in my missal for such, but I have never ever heard it read in church.

  7. Isn’t it lovely that Bishop Carroll’s first parish, Old St. John’s in Forest Glen, Maryland (near the Georgia Ave. exit off the Beltway), offers the Traditional Latin Mass?

  8. DocJim says:

    See
    http://www.thecatholicthing.org/
    for July 4/5, 2010 for a better telling of the story of Fr. John Carroll’s trip to Canada at the start of the Revolution.
    The brief article is titled “The Carrolls of Maryland”

  9. Geoffrey says:

    “…the American Flag who all should proudly hail.”

    I prefer to hail Mary!

    (Get it?) lol!

  10. ssoldie says:

    In my Marian Missal,by Sylvester P.Juergens, S.M. 1958 Veritas Press, the prayer for the Government of the United States, is right after the Leon prayers. Although these are the words in the Marian Missal 1958: 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, may continue, with unchanging faith, in the confession of Thy name.
    We pray Thee, O God of might, wisdom and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgement decreed, assist, with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude, the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in rightness, 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 devine wisdom direct the deliberations of the 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, and the promotion of national happiness,the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge,and may perpetuate to use the blessings of equal liberty.
    We pray for his Excellency the Governor of this State, for the members of the Assembly, for judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare; that thy 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 for 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.

  11. Jerry says:

    re: ssoldie – The version of the prayer in your missal appears to be the same abbreviated version of the prayer that is in the 1945 St. Andrew Daily Missal.

  12. irishgirl says:

    Heard something very interesting at the TLM I went to on Sunday, the 4th. The priest began by speaking about the faith of George Washington, especially when he prayed on his knees in the woods during the terrible winter at Valley Forge. He read the eyewitness account of a man who witnessed it. And he also mentioned Washington’s friendship with Bishop Carroll.

    Mary Immaculate, our Patroness, please pray for America! She belongs to you!