From the Pastor February 19, 2017

7th Sunday in

Ordinary Time – A


On Presidents’

, I reflected on the revised orations offered For a
Head of State
and For
Those in Public Office.
This year I offer some thoughts about two related orations:
For a Governing Assembly and For the Nation or State. Does praying for our Country violate any biblical bans or the so-called ‘Separation of Church and State?’ NO!


There are many scriptural verses that implore us to pray for our leaders, both religious and civic; as Saint Paul said: “I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.”
[1 Timothy 2:1-2]

And the overused and often misused mantra, ‘Separation of Church and State’ was never intended to keep either Church or State from doing their ‘job. In fact, our Founding Fathers were more concerned with the State mandating one particular religion or faith and forbidding all others, as was the case in England and France, and still is the case in Islamic States that ban Christianity and Judaism. Here’s how the Roman Catholic Church prays for the State in her orations, which we offer for every member in all three branches of our government: the executive, legislative and judicial branches.


Collect – For A Governing Assembly


O God, who arrange all things in wondrous order and govern in marvelous ways,

look with favor on the assembled, for whom we now pray, and mercifully pour out upon them the spirit of your wisdom, that they may decide everything for the well-being and peace of all

and may never turn aside from your will.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.



In the days when they taught ‘civics’ in school, we learned that the USA
is a REPUBLIC, not a democracy,
so it is NOT – contrary to popular opinion – majority rule. If it were, we would have no need for Congress
or the Constitution; all decisions would be based on the often self-centered, biased ‘personal opinion.’
But in the wisdom of our Founders, we have governing bodies that strive to secure the rights of the individual and the community, the powerful
and the weak, the ‘have’s’
and the ‘have’s not’s,’
male and female, white
or black, born
or unborn, etc. And as time and experience have shown, here and elsewhere, past and present, once God’s revealed laws and moral codes are removed from our deliberations, there is a travesty of justice – and a violation of someone’s rights.


Priests and Bishops are currently forbidden by Canon [Church] Law to hold public office; ‘permanent’ Deacons [those not preparing for Ordination to Priesthood] are permitted, as they often have secular or non-church jobs. Some might remember Jesuit Father Robert Drinan, who served in Congress from 1971-1980; at the time, a Religious Priest was permitted to hold office, with the approval of his Superior, which he never sought. His scandalous public support FOR legalizing abortion probably prodded Saint John Paul to emend the 1983 Code of Canon Law to forbid clerics from holding office!


In any case, we clerics are permitted – and encouraged – to speak on political matters … as long as we are consistent with Church teaching. I have contacted my elected officials on more than one occasion to offer my Church-informed thoughts on issues being debated or voted on by them – and so should you – for we must bring our Catholic Faith into the public forum!


Collect – For the Nation or State


O God, who arrange all things according to a wonderful design, graciously receive the prayers

we pour out to you for our country (state),

that, through the wisdom of its leaders

and the integrity of its citizens,

harmony and justice may be assured

and lasting prosperity come with peace.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.


We cannot ask God to bless America if we do not listen to and strive to live by God’s word. Nor can our leaders do their job without help from on high. We MUST pray for them, and be active, supportive citizens of our great Republic. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the USA
under her title The Immaculate Conception, pray for us!


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS