PRAYER SUGGESTION: Archbp. Carroll’s “Prayer for Government”

washingtonprayingEveryone, Happy 4th of July and God Bless America!

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

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.

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.

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.

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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. PostCatholic says:

    Emphasis original?

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    Boy that says it all doesn’t it. They prayed for 3 hours, and we are where we are.
    That is a beautiful prayer Fr. Z. Happy Fourth to you and all!

  3. carndt says:

    I am a descendant of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. John’s brother, Daniel, signed the US Constitution. Again, the only Catholic signer.

    An interesting fact: Early in 1776, Charles Carroll, Samuel Chase and Benjamin Franklin were appointed as commissioners to Canada. Along with Carroll’s cousin John Carroll, they were challenged to enlist Canadian support and alliance in the growing conflict with Great Britain. Although, this delegation returned unsuccessful, Carroll, with growing prestige, was given credit along with Samuel Chase for their successful efforts to persuade Maryland to instruct its delegates to vote in favor of independence. He was elected as a Maryland representative and joined the other delegates, from a now unified thirteen colonies, at the 2nd Continental Congress,to sign the Declaration of Independence document in Philadelphia on August 2, 1776.
    Charles was the wealthiest person in the Colonies and gave large amounts to fund the Revolution.

    The Basilica in Baltimore as many artifacts of Archbishop Carroll. He was also spiritual advisor to Mother Seton. He also founded Georgetown University.

  4. Semper Gumby says:

    An excellent painting of George Washington praying. One can almost feel the sunlight’s warmth, and almost hear the crunch of snow under boot and hoof as the horse breathes in the cold air.

    A very happy Independence Day. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas intercede for your intentions and may God bless America. – Cardinal Burke

    Interesting comment by carndt. If I recall it was Charles Carroll who led the pro-Washington faction during Valley Forge when others wanted Washington sacked.

  5. SKAY says:

    There were two Catholic signers of the Constitution. Daniel Carroll and
    Thomas Fitzsimons.

  6. Scotthayward says:

    It is curious as a major reason why the Canadian colonies (particularly Quebec) rejected the rebel’s delegation is because of the enormous protection offered by the British Crown through Westminster with the Quebec Act of 1774 to Catholics. Not only did that Act of Parliament retain the Parisian civil code of law for Quebec, but also protected the French tongue, an amended seigneural system along the St. Lawrence River, the teaching of the French tongue and the Latin Catholic faith in schools, and most importantly the open and free operation of the Latin Church in Quebec.

    No where else in the entire British Empire (including any of the rebellious colonies) was the practice of the faith of the Latin Church permitted. This was a massively liberating act from Westminster and George III for Catholics around the world. The rebels’ delegation did not offer any of the points in the Quebec Act to any of the Canadian colonies (which is another point of proof of how provincial and unaware the rebels’ minds were, except for slave-produced tobacco exports to Europe).

    In fact, it was the Loyalists who fled the newly-created United States after 1783 to the western part of Quebec (now Ontario) who were the first part of the then-current or then-former British Empire to outlaw slavery and the slave trade in 1793.

    In fact, from the perspective of a Catholic, it was George III who was the true liberator for Catholics, considering he funded and built Maynooth Seminary, the memorial the Stuart Kings in St. Peter’s Basilica, and granted safe haven to Catholic clerics and religious while the French Revolution and the true Reign of Terror unleashed itself in France.

    So it is more than reasonable that the Catholics of Canada found refuge in the British Crown through both Westminster and the person of George III, while being distrustful of the rebels, who had the liberating Quebec Act of 1774 as one of the ten points of grievances in the preamble of the treasonous “Declaration of Independence” (independence was granted by the Treaty of Paris and came to effect on May 12, 1784, for those who believe in the application of the law).

    It was not only treasonous, but also embarrassing to the Faith that any Catholic signed such a virulently anti-Catholic document as the Declaration of Independence. As for the prayer, I suppose it is appropriate for Americans to use as the petitions are genuine and good. There are also good petitions for the United States of America (in addition to the President of the republic) that can be found in the Divine Worship Missal of the Anglican Ordinariate:

    (I) For British Subjects and in Commonwealth Countries:

    Guard and strengthen thy servant N. our King (Queen); that he (she) may
    put his (her) trust in thee and seek thy honour and glory.

    Hear us, good Lord.

    Endue the High Court of Parliament and all the ministers of the Crown with
    wisdom and understanding.

    Hear us, good Lord.

    (II) In the United States of America

    Guard and strengthen our President N.; that he (she) may put his (her)
    trust in thee and seek thy honour and glory.

    Hear us, good Lord.

    Endue the ministers of government and all others in authority with wisdom
    and understanding.

    Hear us, good Lord.

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    Scotthayward: You overlooked, or perhaps you are unaware, of quite a few things.

    – The background of the French-Indian Wars and the Seven Years’ War.

    – Catholics in Canada did not swear allegiance to God and a Constitution but to a problematic Protestant monarch. Recall also what Henry VIII did to the Catholic Church.

    – The Catholic king of France supported the rebellion.

    – Catholics in England, Scotland, and Ireland were barred from political office and military command.

    – Your calumny against the Carrolls is unwarranted.

    – Independence was not “granted” in 1784 as you claim, but declared in 1776 and fought for against a British force whose behavior was quite problematic at times. After the decisive 1781 American victory at Yorktown, with French assistance, major combat operations ended and negotiations began.

    Read the Declaration of Independence again, this time noting the Catholic sources of that document and the colonists’ grievances against the British crown.

    Abp. Carroll’s Prayer for Government is superior to the rather anemic “petitions” you provided. Cheers.

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    Kathy Schiffer at the Register:

    One of the heartwarming features of President Trump’s address at the “Salute to America” July 4 was his tributes to citizens, past and present, who by their service have helped to make America a better place.

    But the name that caught my attention was Sister Deirdre Byrne. Sister Deirdre (or “Dede,” as she is called by her friends) is a medical doctor whose long career has been marked by extraordinary service. She served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, in active duty in Afghanistan and later as a reservist, eventually rising to the rank of colonel. She served for 13 months in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. As a missionary surgeon, she devoted herself to helping the sick in Kenya, Haiti, Sudan and Iraq.

    And in 1997, as a senior resident, she delivered medical care to Mother Teresa during the missionary’s five-day visit to Washington, D.C.

    Sister Deirdre’s accomplishments don’t end there. As a young doctor in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, after the planes flew into the World Trade Center, she and her friend made their way to Ground Zero, then spent the next two days delivering supplies and support to firefighters.

    But while serving as a medical officer was rewarding, Deirdre felt called to serve God in yet another way. After a period of discernment, she entered the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a traditional religious order whose life is centered on prayer and Eucharistic adoration. Founded in Italy, the order attracts teachers and health care professionals to their mission of service. Sister Deirdre had found her way home! She entered the community in 2002 and professed her first vows in 2004.

    But during those years, the U.S. military again called on her to help in the U.S. and Afghanistan. “I had one foot in the religious life and one foot in with Uncle Sam,” she told the Georgetown Medicine Magazine. She finally retired from the U.S. military in 2009, and two years later, she professed her final vows.

    Sister Deirdre talked with the Register about the experience of attending the “Salute to America” at the Lincoln Memorial. “I don’t know how I was selected,” she admitted. “The President already had this idea of who he wanted to honor.” She speculated that President Trump may have learned about her service through someone who knew her youngest brother, Fr. Bill Byrne, a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Washington.

    She insisted that despite the President’s kind words, she wasn’t the real hero. “I was sitting around some real heroes!” she said.

    Asked if she had a message for readers of the National Catholic Register, Sister Deirdre quoted what Mother Teresa had once told her: “Keep your eyes on the Cross.”

  9. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    Print it out on some parchment paper and mail to your local priest. Give them something the call hold and remember.

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    One Catholic source of the Declaration of Independence is Cardinal Robert Bellarmine.

    See Rev. John C. Rager’s lecture at the American Catholic Historical Association, December 31, 1928.

    Two excerpts:

    1. Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.

    Bellarmine: All men are equal, not in wisdom or grace, but in the essence and nature of mankind (De Laicis, c.7) There is no reason why among equals one should rule rather than another (ibid.). Let rulers remember that they preside over men who are of the same nature as they themselves. (De Officus Princ. c. 22). Political right is immediately from God and necessarily inherent in the nature of man (De Laicis, c. 6, note 1).

    St. Thomas: Nature made all men equal in liberty, though not in their natural perfections (II Sent., d. xliv, q. 1, a. 3. ad 1).

    2. Declaration of Independence: Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government… Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient reasons.

    Bellarmine: For legitimate reasons the people can change the government to an aristocracy or a democracy or vice versa (De Laicis, c. 6). The people never transfers its powers to a king so completely but that it reserves to itself the right of receiving back this power (Recognitio de Laicis, c. 6).

    St Thomas: If any society of people have a right of choosing a king, then the king so established can be deposed by them without injustice, or his power can be curbed, when by tyranny he abuses his regal power (De Rege et Regno, Bk. I, c. 6).

    Also see:

    “St. Robert Bellarmine’s Influence on the Writing of the Declaration of Independence & the Virginia Declaration of Rights” by Karl Maurer:

    Matthew Bunson at the Register on July 4, 2018: “Bellarmine, Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence: Any discussion of genius and influence must include two names, one the author of the Declaration of Independence and the other a doctor of the Church.”

    A brief historical note: on December 11, 1776 Congress decreed a Day of Fasting and Repentance.

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