Father Daniel Coughlin has done it again. As the first Roman Catholic chaplain to the U.S. House of Representatives, he has to offer a lot prayers. A memorable one was the invocation at the memorial service for former President Gerald Ford in 2006 (see below). Last Tuesday he gave a meal blessing at the inaugural luncheon for President Barack Obama. Let's face it: The guy knows how to deliver a prayer. Here’s the text:
"Lord God of history, we have been blessed to witness the meteoric rise of President Obama, the long, faith-filled journey of African Americans, the vibrant hopes of a nation catapulting into new directions.
"Lord God of the present moment, we are blessed, as free people to see your hand in the peaceful transfer of power, and your guidance in the affairs of state. May we be attentive to your word and reach our full potential, with equal justice for all, compassion for the least, and self-discipline to achieve lofty goals.
"Lord God, be with us into the future, bless us by shaping a changing world into a more stable one where all peoples and all nations will live in peace. Protect and guide with creative touch President Obama and Vice-President Biden, their families, and all in public service. May each day be filled with peace and satisfaction because they are about building your reign here on earth. Amen."
And from the Gerald Ford memorial:
“ ‘How mighty is the hand that can turn a page of history!’ ” Lord God, you call each of us by name and you alone know each of us through and through. You have called Gerald R. Ford unto yourself and again he has responded to you with hope and is confirmed by America’s prayers just as he sought them when called to serve as president of this great nation.
“As we welcome Mrs. Ford and President Ford’s family and friends to this rotunda, the nation is called to surround them with their prayers—their sympathy for their loss and their gratitude for sharing his love and his loyalty with all of us for so many years in government service.
“Again, at this moment of death, we humbly ask you, Lord, to grant peace and reconciliation, healing and gentle civility to this nation, as this man so nobly tried to do in life’s singular moments by his efforts to close chapter upon chapter on America’s sadness.
“May the brightness of hope and the promise of eternal life reward this modest man, the Honorable Gerald Ford. And may the story of the 38th president of the United States inspire others in this nation and around the world to respond to your providential call as he did. Lord, call many to seize their moment to make a difference ‘by serving the people’s urgent needs’ Then empower them to make bold steps in searching for ways of peace and reconciliation, just as he did. ‘For mighty is the hand that can turn a page of history.’ ”
For more information about the Office of the Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives, go to chaplain.house.gov/.