By Fr. George Welzbacher
November 9, 2008
Prayer for the Church and For the Civil Authorities
Composed by Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore (1735 - 1815)
We pray Thee, O almighty and eternal God, Who through Jesus Christ has 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 Benedict, the Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of His Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and to 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 is 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 blessings 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 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 steep 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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What is the name of the Pope's Cathedral? If you said the Vatican, or St. Peter's, you were off by a few miles, since the answer is the Basilica of St. John, the Lateran, the "Mother Church" of all the churches of the world and the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome. It takes it name from the Laterani family, the Trumps of the day, who somehow ran afoul of the Emperor Nero. He seized all their property, including their vast Roman palace and estate. We don't know how Plautius displeased Nero so badly, but eventually all the Lateran property came to Constantine, the first Christian emperor, through his wife, Fausta. Early in the fourth century, when Christianity was at last legalized, Constantine gave the property to the church. Soon the great meeting halls were expanded and adapted.
Over the centuries, the church building has been sacked by armies, ruined by fire, torn down, and rebuilt. ....Today's feast is really about the tradition of consecrating space for worship, and so by extension, a feast for your parish church building and, given the beautiful second reading, for its baptistry as well.