Archbp. Carroll’s “Prayer for Government”

Fathers, you might want to have everyone pray this after Mass on 4 July and other major public holidays.  This, and other prayers, are deeply needed today.

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.

I became familiar with this moving prayer at my home parish of St. Agnes in St. Paul (MN) where it was recited after all Masses on civic holidays of the USA, such as 4 July and Thanksgiving.

Americans among the readership might print it and bring it to your parish priests and ask them to use it after Mass on national holidays.

This needs no translation for Catholics who love their country!


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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Continental Congress at Prayer

The opening prayer session of the 1st Continental Congress was about 3 hours long.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. SKAY says:

    Thank you for posting this beautiful prayer and the reminder of the 3 hour opening prayer of the first
    Continental Congress Father Z. Thankfully our founders understood what was really important.

    John Carroll’s younger brother, Daniel Carroll, was a signer of the Constitution

    Happy fourth of July to you and to all.

  2. kiwiinamerica says:

    America is done. The Puritan, anti-Catholic experiment is staggering towards its inevitable end. All of our current troubles were baked into the cake two hundred years ago when we ordained individualism and subjectivism as our highest values. America never was a country which championed religious freedom in the early years and a bitter and open anti-Catholicism flourished. As a result, we (Catholics) have been trying to make nice with the state ever since in a futile attempt to be accepted. The current persecution over the provision of abortion and contraception coverage by employers and the ever-increasing government attack on those who refuse to swallow the homosexual “marriage” lie, prove just how futile those attempts at being accepted have been.

    As a result of the innate anti-Catholicism in America, Catholics came to accept the naturalist premises of the nation’s Masonic founders and became comfortable with the then revolutionary concept of the separation of Church and state. It is precisely this separation which has burdened us with the legal recognition of every moral abomination, especially abortion and sodomite “marriage”. Leo XIII explained it all to us in Testem benevolentiae nostrae but who ever speaks about this document these days? Nobody, but it is as true today as it was in 1899.

    The majority of our current bishops are particularly nauseating when it comes to groveling before Caesar. By all means, pray for the government. Let’s not pretend, however, that the American model is friendly towards or compatible with Catholicism. It isn’t. And like every historical anti-Catholic movement, it is destined for ruin.

  3. GrumpyYoungMan says:

    We prayed this yesterday immediately after Mass, during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Thank you for posting, Father.

  4. mike cliffson says:

    What a splendid (and very American) prayer!
    The horizon is eternity, but the eye for the present is wide open , not fluffy.
    “…… thegovernor 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.”
    Honesty AND ability paired in what we are asking the Lord for for these!
    Only that which is eternal is truly important, meanwhile , exceptionalism and an exceptionalist outlook, especially from Christians for whom this sojourn is an exile, have a lot going for them.
    Twenty years ago I heard of a Bishop quite some distance South of the USA who after some years of nasty marxist hostilites and government armed repression , complained precisely that his diocese had no lack, praise the Lord , of honest men , of whom very few were able , or even so much as literate and numerate , and that when one was found it was only months before they were arrested, vanished , murdered ,or threatened, whilst the not too few publicly able men were none of them honest.
    Wishing all you cousins both joy in your celebrations, and the strength of the Lord in recuperating their meaning for christendom.

  5. Philomena Mary says:

    That’s a great prayer. I wonder if there is something similar for Australia – time to research!

  6. Andrew D says:

    It’s a nice prayer but the facts are the facts. This is not a Christian nation, it was founded on the principals of freemasonry. Prior to the official founding, the pilgrims who came here were militantly anti-Catholic. In all the prophecies of the saints and in the Book of the Apocalypse, is there any mention of North America or the United States for that matter? No. I’m sorry to be the wet noodle but I’m afraid that our country is totally doomed. There’s no one to blame but ourselves. We’ve tolerated one supremacist judicial ruling after another. We’ve allowed our culture to rot to the point where Kim Kardashian is the most popular woman in the country and the most popular man is a tie between Barack Obama and the former Bruce Jenner. Our military is now going to accept trannies. Why? Why hasn’t there been a military coup in our country to save it from the Obama regime? This weekend, here in Philadelphia where it all began, I looked around and all I saw were young and sadly, old people, with tattoos all over their bodies – even on their faces. I saw sodomites in the Independence Day parade, dancing on their floats to the cheers of families on Market Street. And on the walk back home, I passed by a historic episcopal church (intentional lower case spelling) with a sign out front saying “we stand with our muslim (another intentional lower case spelling) brothers against discrimination.” I’ve had it with the “year of mercy”. Bring on the purification – we need it, and we deserve it!

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Why on earth would you insist on a country being mentioned in Scripture? Usually that doesn’t occur for happy reasons, but rather so that the Lord can warn pagan nations to back off, or announce their destruction. Being mentioned did not go well for the Hittites. (Where now is Hattusa? And who is going to miss one of history’s most vicious empires?)

    But the Lord did care about the fate of individual Hittites, like Bathsheba’s husband.

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