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Scott P. Richert

Novena of the Week: Prayer for Government

By November 19, 2013

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On November 10, 1791, the first bishop of the United States, John Carroll, wrote a beautiful prayer to be recited in parishes throughout his diocese.Statue of Archbishop John Carroll in front of Healy Hall inside the front gates of Georgetown University, sculpted by Jerome Connor. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons © Patrickneil; licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported) A cousin of Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Archbishop Carroll understood the necessary role that religion plays in guaranteeing political order, and that role is expressed in the very structure of his Prayer for Government.

The prayer begins with an acknowledgment of the central role of the Church before asking God to guide our political leaders and our fellow citizens. It ends with a prayer for the repose of the souls of all those who have gone before us—an appropriate reminder in November, the Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, that our obligation to our fellow man does not end with his death.

As we in the United States prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving 2013, I have chosen Archbishop Carroll's Prayer for Government as our novena of the week.

(Statue of Archbishop John Carroll in front of Healy Hall inside the front gates of Georgetown University, sculpted by Jerome Connor. Photo from Wikimedia Commons © Patrickneil; licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)

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