A Prayer for Our Country at the Democratic National Convention

Here is the prayer that I offered tonight at the Democratic National Convention:

With a “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,”  let us close this convention by praying for this land that we so cherish and love:

Let us Pray.

Almighty God, father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, revealed to us so powerfully in your Son, Jesus Christ, we thank you for showering your blessings upon this our beloved nation.  Bless all here present, and all across this great land, who work hard for the day when a greater portion of your justice, and a more ample measure of your care for the poor and suffering, may prevail in these United States.  Help us to see that a society’s greatness is found above all in the respect it shows for the weakest and neediest among us.

We beseech you, almighty God to shed your grace on this noble experiment in ordered liberty, which began with the confident assertion of inalienable rights bestowed upon us by you:  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Thus do we praise you for the gift of life.  Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure.  We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected.  Strengthen our sick and our elders waiting to see your holy face at life’s end, that they may be accompanied by true compassion and cherished with the dignity due those who are infirm and fragile.

We praise and thank you for the gift of liberty.  May this land of the free never lack those brave enough to defend our basic freedoms.  Renew in all our people a profound respect for religious liberty:  the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our Founding. May our liberty be in harmony with truth; freedom ordered in goodness and justice.  Help us live our freedom in faith, hope, and love.  Make us ever-grateful for those who, for over two centuries, have given their lives in freedom’s defense; we commend their noble souls to your eternal care, as even now we beg the protection of your mighty arm upon our men and women in uniform.

We praise and thank you for granting us the life and the liberty by which we can pursue happiness.  Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God.  Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community.  May we welcome those who yearn to breathe free and to pursue happiness in this land of freedom, adding their gifts to those whose families have lived here for centuries.

We praise and thank you for the American genius of government of the people, by the people and for the people.  Oh God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us:  President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Congress, the Supreme Court, and all those, including Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office.  Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country.  Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself. With your grace, may all Americans choose wisely as we consider the future course of public policy.

And finally Lord, we beseech your benediction on all of us who depart from here this evening, and on all those, in every land, who yearn to conduct their lives in freedom and justice.  We beg you to remember, as we pledge to remember, those who are not free; those who suffer for freedom’s cause; those who are poor, out of work, needy, sick, or alone; those who are persecuted for their religious convictions, those still ravaged by war.

And most of all, God Almighty, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country.

For we are indeed “one nation under God,” and “in God we trust.”

So dear God, bless America.  You who live and reign forever and ever.


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118 Responses to “A Prayer for Our Country at the Democratic National Convention”

  1. James Faehr says:

    Who can disagree with that ?

  2. GONZALO T. PALACIOS, Ph.D. says:

    Well said. Literally, Thank God! I still find it objectionable for a follower of Jesus to agree to address Caesar and his satraps. Gonzalo T. Palacios

  3. SK Bernard Bialk says:

    Very heart felt no one could have said it better, thank you Father. You are an inspiration in these trying times.

  4. Jackie says:

    Thank you, Your Grace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!!!

  5. Ron Fazio says:

    Cardinal Dolan for President!!!I am so proud to be Catholic. Thank you Cardinal for displaying an unbiased approach….but I believe the Democrats are so far off track, they should be mindful for their souls for following the evil one…(satan, not Obama).

  6. alan says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan for a powerful benediction. I humbly beg that all pro-abortion Catholic polliticians be offered a chance to repent or face excommunication. May God bless you.

  7. Your Eminence,

    Perfect prayers. As a theologian and philosopher, I am so inspired to see the bishops so eloquently standing up for truth before anyone who will listen. You spoke truth without regard for who was listening. Terrific!

  8. Ciaran Buckley says:

    Great job Cardinal Dolan, God bless you and us

  9. Sister Terese Peter says:

    Although I greatly admire Archbishop Dolan, I do not agree with his choice to provide the final prayer. All too often (and rightfully so) we hear about Catholic Colleges and other Catholic institutions who have invited pro-abortion speakers to their graduations and other celebrations. The outrage is absolutely correct. I don’t think that he converted anyone at the DNC convention. I think he made a terrible choice, especially given the debacle over the dems using “God” in their official platform and their stand on Israel. It is true that Jesus ate and drank with sinners, but He was God–Dolan is not. What’s even worse is that it is obvious that the dems merely used Dolan as a pawn to try to show how “accepting” they are by having Dolan there. He played right into their hands.

  10. Randell P says:

    @ James Faehr:
    Let’s see, the democrats could disagree:
    “We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected. ”
    No wonder his speech was cut from the coverage. May conflict with their agenda…
    We can definitely use all the prayers we can get…

  11. dolores hall says:

    Thank you your Eminence for speaking the words that are in the hearts of so many of the Faithful. God bless you for your courage. I pray that I and others of the Faith will also have the courage to stand for what is right and just. Thank you.Thank you.

  12. Thank you, Your Eminence!

  13. Pamela Woodward says:

    Perfect! And beautiful! Thank you Cardinal Dolan!

  14. Larry Coty says:

    Unbelievable. I can’t wait to see the prayer you offer at the next Planned Parenthood convention.

  15. Chuck In Seattle says:

    Beautiful prayer, Archbishop! Thank! I agree with many of the points from Anna above (12:20 am).

    I must say, however, as I compare the two prayers, while you gave a “proper” “winger wagging” to the DNC, I think you left the RNC off the hook far too easily! I think an outside observing, looking at the two of these, would see bias, which is very unfortunate.

  16. Matilde L Perez says:

    Wonderful prayer!

  17. Billy Bean says:

    May God bless America with more American Catholic bishops like Cardinal Dolan!

  18. Sam says:

    Dear cardinal Dolan
    The legislation pushed and supported by Obama concerning late term born alive aborted children is infanticide….I am a catholic ( not a great one ) and I am a nurse who as an 18 yr old was present when a d&c was performed in the second trimester….I live in Illinois …..the church needs to take a stand…these nuns who support this man need to see what happens to a child born alive left to die while struggling to hang onto life…I am pro choice around birth control…abortion has nothing to do with PLANNED parenthood…..as a young girl I was always vocal about a woman’s right to choose until I saw this procedure. There is something wrong with a Person who would support and push such legislation making it illegal to give. Edical care to a child hanging onto life.

  19. Maria Z says:

    God bless and Thank You Cardinal Dolan. You have always been an inspiration. If any party needed you,it was the Democrats. I didn’t watch them because I despise their position on abortion,gay marriage,and especially taking God out of their platform. I’m a proud practicing Catholic. I’m hoping the candidate who appreciates rights to life,sanctity of marriage and religious rights win in Nov. God needs to be important again after a 4 year absence.

  20. Susy says:

    So proud as I watched and heard your prayer at the DNC that tears sprang to my eyes! You are such a blessing for the Church. May God bless you, you are a treasure!

  21. Greg Howard says:

    I think that is one of the best speeches I have heard in a long time. What I do not understand is that the Democrats want God taken out of their platform, the boos, the people who object to God who has given us this opportunity to succeed as a Nation and now those who want us destroyed.
    These people who want us destroyed are the same ones who want God out of our lives. Think about that one when you decide to vote in November, make your vote for those that believe in God and not Government as the answer.

  22. Leslie says:

    I have no words other than “beautiful” and “profound.” Thank you, Cardinal Dolan, for your faithful service to God and His Church, and for your meaningful and inspiring presence in the public square. God bless you, Cardinal.

  23. Sharon Kruse says:

    I am a Missouri Synod Luther Father Dolan and want to thank you for the wonderful benediction you gave last night.
    What is sad is that probably only those who watched it on FOX heard the whole prayer. To that end, I shared it with my Facebook friends and have already received comments.
    Your prayer was uniting to me. It showed what we need to do to get back to a country that cares about each other. Where we put others first.
    This benediction can be reprayed often. It has so much meaning for America.
    God Bless you Cardinal Dolan, may He bless the work you do and the Love of God that you share.

  24. Kim Wetzel-Williams says:

    @Gonzalo T. Palacios – Jesus ate with sinners. He said that sick people need a doctor. I have to admire Cardinal Dolan for walking into a pit of vipers who tweeted and posted so much filth and hate today.

  25. Susan Smith says:

    Well done

  26. Jennifer Hickerson says:

    Your Excellency, thank you, thank you, for your wisdom, charity, and courage. May God hear your prayer!

  27. Doug says:

    Cardinal Dolan had to go to the lion’s den. Jesus said that He did not come to heal the righteous but to heal the sinner. A wonderful work of evangelization! Bravo Cardinal Dolan!

  28. J. Thunder says:

    You walked into the Lion’s Den and prayed for the Lion’s victims. I deeply respect your strength and conviction and I’m proud to be Catholic!

  29. Dan B says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan

    Thank you sir for having the courage and conviction of praying a prayer that focused on our Nation’s foundation upon Godly principles.

    May God bless you

  30. Jane Delaney says:

    Cardinal Dolan, I have the honor of working for Fr. Caruso. Your words are inspring and “spot on”. You are a man of virtue and honor and your words reflect your persona. Such profound observations said by a gentleman… Hurrah!

  31. Julie says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan, I ask all Christians to pray for you daily. As for news stations who cut off your prayer, they will not be viewed in my home. They are all about ratings, send them a message and keep them turned off.

  32. john son of john says:

    God Bless him

    Glad he mentioned marriage : )

  33. Ryan says:

    Amen! Thank you, Your Eminence. Perhaps some supporters of abortion, state-sponsored sodomy, secularism, etc. will receive the grace to convert to the Truth.

  34. From Georgia says:

    Thanks you for a great prayer…..i am a conservative and your prayer was the only part of the DNC that had complete substance and meaning to me…..thank you also for always standing up for morals in our country and most of all for our sweet God…….

  35. Timothy O'Brien says:

    Well said indeed. To Gonzalo, it isnt biblical to insist one should not even “address” Caesar…. 1 Peter 2:17 “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the emperor”….we can tell Caesar he is sinning and transgressing his office, while still acknowledging and even honoring him within his office properly understood.

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan!

  36. Esther Marie Ventura Ferencz says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolon:

    Blessed be GOD. You were outstanding and wow you turned near beet red near the end of that GLORIOUS PRAYER!

    Thanks so much for the beacon of LIGHT you were, as so many catholics shamed themselves on that stage…..EACH ONE in some way. ESP the women clamoring for their aborts and all else? I think and felt in my heart the sorrow of Gods heart. YOU RAISED HIM ABOVE THE CLAMOR. God Bless YOU and Mary Keep YOU as you walk this treacherous journey all of us walk in this land.

  37. Larry says:

    Should have been prayed at the opening. The message was to stop killing the unborn, and that the Institution of Traditional marriage is between a man and a women. Let those who have ears hear. To late for Obama and Biden, but maybe some others can still be saved. My “Hope” is for a “Change” of heart for those who truly want to move “Forward” in their own Life and the blessings of Jesus Christ! Amen and Shalom

  38. Tom says:

    Thank you for this prayer of humility and truth to the true God! And than you for your courage!

  39. Anne says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    Thank You for showing us how to enter a lion’s den, and speak the truth. No one could pigeon hole you as just being a one issue guy concerned with the unborn but not really caring about all the other ills of our society.
    Usually the pro-lifers are dismissed by the other side as hard right Republicans who could care less about the other ills in our country.

  40. Emily says:

    I am not a Catholic. But I was impressed by the bravery you showed by saying what needed to be said. As the mother of 4 children I am always amazed that someone can say that the unborn should not be protected. Thank you!

  41. Steve and Moira says:

    Thank you, Your Eminence, for being a good shepherd. Your words were perfect and with God’s blessings, they will change hearts.

  42. J.P.Reilly says:

    Thanks for this post. In vain did I look over the PBS internet DNC site with their ‘complete coverage’ for it. Amazing when the Pres of the US Bishop’s Conference closes the DNC with this fine Benediction and NONE of the Media saw it newsworthy. We certainly have come(strayed) a long way in a short period of time.
    EWTN had it up earlierand I shared that.

  43. Sandy says:

    I questioned the wisdom of Cardinal Dolan inviting Pres. Obama to the Al Smith Dinner; but after seeing the prayer, I will never question Cardinal Dolan again! It is clear all his decisions are made in consultation with the Holy Spirit. He is clearly a man of God and we are blessed to have him in the leadership role he is in. THANK YOU, CARDINAL DOLAN, for answering God’s call to serve in the priesthood!

  44. Brother Priest says:

    A well crafted speech/prayer, dear Eminence.

    [This is not a screed, please read]

    Unfortunately, I believe the bishops are taking the wrong tack. It is the clergy’s fault that this country’s Catholics are so poorly catechized that we could have come to this situation. And why? Because cassocks were traded in for suits, to use an analogy. Because the sacred power entrusted to Christ’s ordained minsters was secreted away after the desire for social relevancy and acceptance. And now, when the sacred character of the Apostles’ successors is now needed more than ever — through moving THE FAITHFUL to prayerful works of penance, to following the example of the first Apostles and Fathers by excommunicating those who so manifestly and viciously impugn visible signs of communion. But instead, we have again fallen for the devil’s ruse, that we can be a social power. And so, yes, finally our bishops are more consistently supporting that which is most important, but they continue to do it as ersatz statesmen. The Christian significance is not as a political influence.

    Your Eminence, you are a historian — when in the Church’s history has it gone well when our clerical leaders have sought to positively sway and even enter political government? at least in the modern era?

    Yes indeed, the faithful of this great land must exercise their natural, civic, and Christian duties. But neither you nor your brother bishops are laity; you are clergy. Your primary charge is to address the faithful with saving truth, sacraments, and order; and your formal interaction with the non-Christian is to be evangelical, i.e., expressly for the sake of converting them to the name of Jesus Christ.

    I am happy the day is soon coming when the episcopacy will not be able to posture as parallel state leaders, who try to artfully devise comments that show how well balanced and open we are. I am glad that the Church’s social prestige is being stripped away, although I am horrified and prayerful about the sins of the Church’s men. I am thankful that days are coming where Catholics will recognize more clearly again the two orders of nature and grace, and recognize our great gift of supernatural and eschatological lives. Do not be misguided about the powers, against which we fight. This is spiritual warfare, not a culture battle, and not a political puzzle.

    Dear Eminence, I wish you would lead us in sincere fasting and reverent prayer above all else.

    Thank you for reading this.

  45. Mike Edwards says:


  46. Clay Proffitt says:

    Thank you, Cardinal Dolan for a moving prayer to close the DNC convention (and the RNC one as well)

    It’s refreshing to have someone like yourself in a position of prominence who is in full respect and understanding in what the founders of this nation founded it upon. “With firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” a fitting way to begin by using the most inspired message by the most inspired document ever penned by man.

    He is the source of true hope. I find comfort in the belief that if this nation was born through a sequence of divine miracles that it would be foolish not to believe that he would take similar action to save the “last, best hope” for the world if we remained humble, faithful servants to Him just as our ancestors had been before us.

    May God watch over you and guide you wherever in life you may be called. God bless.

  47. Anne Wolfe says:

    Thank you, Cardinal Dolan, for this thoughtful prayer. You reminded us of our ancient Judaeo-Christian heritage, our dependence upon God, the sanctity of human life, keeping the meaning of long-established institutions, right of religious liberty, and the wisdom of the American Founding.

    I particularly liked praying for the candidates by name for both parties.

    Thank you for trying to unite us on fundamental beliefs that are being assaulted and for reaching out, as a representative of Jesus Christ, to all Americans.

    We in Miilwaukee continue to pray for you and for this election.

  48. Julie Ann Courville says:

    Cardinal Dolan, Your prayers at the Conventions were awesome, Thank You.Please do not allow cameras or photo ops at Al Smith dinner. Don’t allow Barack Obama talking time.Cancel the dinner until after the elections. Souls are more important than money.Many Catholics are still planning on voting for Obama. They are not putting the value of Life and faith in God as a priority. I have been working on political phone surveys. Many people feel Obama is their Saving Grace. Please read the blog written by a Michele Somerville(it seems as though she supports liberal agenda) below. We are on the brink of disaster in this country.
    Your are always in my thoughts and prayers.

    About four years ago I caught the last 20 minutes of the 2008 Alfred E. Smith dinner on CSPAN. Senator Barack Obama’s bit was funny, and his comedic timing was impeccable. But I found myself distracted from full enjoyment of the future president’s performance by the man seated beside him, who chuckled so hard at Obama’s jokes he seemed like he’d cry. Later on in the evening, that same man would characterize Barack Obama as “exemplary.” That man was Edward Egan, Cardinal of the Archdiocese of New York.

    How was it possible that a Roman Catholic cardinal might find the jokes of a crusader for what he and his fellow hierarchs view as the mass murder of (what the Catholic anti-abortion advocates call) “babies” in utero so hilarious? How could a Roman Catholic prelate so revel in feasting at a table with a popular pro-choice presidential candidate while knowing that in parishes throughout the United States priests were barring pro-choice politicians from “the table of Our Lord?” How? The answer may be that such a thing is possible only if the cardinal doing the chortling doesn’t quite believe everything he preaches. Hence the concern on the part of the many Roman Catholics who have criticized the choice made by Timothy Dolan, Cardinal of the Archdiocese of New York and President of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) to invite President Barack Obama to the Al Smith Dinner.

    I am glad the President Obama will attend the Al Smith dinner. I think the mere fact that Obama was invited at all will win him Catholic votes. However, Rev. Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, who objects strenuously to Dolan’s choice to invite Obama to the Al Smith Dinner is right to feel betrayed by Dolan in this:

    The Rev. Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, a leading abortion opponent based in Staten Island, said Monday (Aug. 6) that “the polite putting aside of differences for a while amounts to scandal.”

    “There comes a time when enough is enough and we can no longer afford to give people a reason to doubt our position as a Church,” Pavone wrote in an email. “So no, I don’t think the invitation is appropriate at this time.”

    “Better to cancel the event than have it become another cause for scandal in the Catholic Church…”

    If Timothy Dolan breaks bread with Barack Obama, laughs at his jokes or extends any words of graciousness that might wind up construed as praise, Dolan will siphon out some of the urgency out of his “religious freedom” and “defense of marriage” positions. He will give Catholics cause to doubt his positions on same-sex marriage and contraception. He will cause many Catholics to wonder whether the cardinal’s talk of Catholic conscience and religious freedom is genuine — or just politically driven cant.

    As I watched Timothy Egan delight in Obama’s performance roughly four years ago, I remember thinking: Maybe the cardinal and his ilk don’t really believe what they preach. Maybe obedience, and not belief, fuels their promulgating. They submit to the Magisterium the way soldiers do generals. Maybe they just have to toe the Vatican party line, and belief is not always required.

    Does Timothy Dolan truly believe what he says about same-sex marriage, artificial contraception and abortion? Of course there’s no sure way to know. Roman Catholicism has an enlightened approach toward doubt. It is no sin to doubt. There can be little doubt, however, in any any Roman Catholic camp, that regarding the president as some perfectly good guy with whom Catholics just don’t quite seem to see eye-to-eye poses a threat will to Dolan’s already dragging and tenuous credibility.

    If Timothy Dolan believes, for example, that an embryo is a child, he views Barack Obama as a man militating (even if with good intentions) with considerable rigorousness, to ensure that the mass murder of “babies” remains legal in the United States. That most Catholics don’t hold this position is immaterial. It’s what Dolan teaches.

    Dolan did not have to invite Obama to the dinner. Cardinal John O’Connor excluded Bill Clinton; Cardinal Edward Egan excluded John Kerry. That precedent exists for excluding pro-choice candidates from this event makes it all the more difficult for Dolan to put the kind of spin he needs on his decision to invite the president to the dinner. That in his putative outrage over the Health Care mandate, Dolan moved to sue the Obama offers all the more reason for Dolan to leave the President of the United States off the Al Smith dinner guest list.

    Timothy Dolan’s choice to break bread with the President Obama will cast an entirely new light on the religious freedom campaign, a campaign much predicated on demonizing the incumbent. Catholics and non-Catholics alike will have all the more reason to question Dolan’s challenges to “ObamaCare” in the aftermath of the gala at the Waldorf.

    Read the rest of “The Al Smith Dinner: Why Dolan Should Have Snubbed POTUS and WHY I’m Glad He Didn’t” on Indie Theology.

    Follow Michele Somerville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NYpoet

  49. kattie says:

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan. You are truly a holy man. You are an inspiration to all. May God bless you too!

  50. Sandra says:

    Dear Archbishop Dolan,

    I am an evangelical Christian living in Florida and I thank God for your bravery in standing on Truth, God’s Word, and Right in this public prayer. You were brave and though the masses will rush at you the way they rushed at Stephen, I know you will be blessed for your conviction and courage. It was inspiring to my while family. May God Bless you.

    A Christian