Archbishop Hebda opens 2017 legislative session with prayer

| January 3, 2017 | 2 Comments

Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis opens the 2017 legislative session in the House Chamber at the State Capitol in St. Paul with a prayer Jan. 3. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Archbishop Bernard Hebda helped open the 90th session of the Minnesota Legislature Jan. 3 at the Capitol in St. Paul, praying for legislators and the citizens they serve.

“God of all creation, the majestic beauty of our state reminds us that you are the source of all blessings,” he began.

In addressing the 100-plus members of the House of Representatives, Archbishop Hebda prayed that they be instruments of God’s providential care, especially to those most in need and on the “margins of society.” He also prayed that they might respect “differences of culture and experiences,” which have strengthened the state.

The office of Republican Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, who was re-elected as speaker during the day’s activities, invited the archbishop to say the opening prayer.

Afterward, Archbishop Hebda said he felt honored to have the opportunity, later adding that he also had led a prayer for legislators as bishop of Gaylord, Michigan, although that experience was “less formal.”

“Certainly, there seemed to be an openness to receiving God’s blessings, so I was grateful for that,” he said.

He added, “It was nice to look up into the newly refurbished chambers and to see [Father Louis] Hennepin’s name there, knowing that we have such a great Catholic presence here in the state.”

Father Hennepin’s name is one of four early French explorers on the House Chamber’s ceiling. The others are Robert de La Salle, Nicolas Perrot and Sieur Duluth, aka Daniel Greysolon.

The archbishop noted that several legislators asked him to sign their Bibles, which they used when being sworn into office. He said he hopes legislators work together for the common good during the session.

The full prayer is as follows:

God of all Creation,
The majestic beauty of our State reminds us that you are the source of all blessings.
At the beginning of this new year and of this legislative session,
we humbly ask for your blessing
on our legislators and on all who collaborate in their work.
Bestow on them an abundant share of your wisdom
and a deep desire to serve the common good.   
May they be instruments of your providential care,
most especially in the lives of those who are most in need — our children, our elderly, those who live at the margins of our society.
May they be bridge-builders,
helping us to strengthen those bonds that unite a very diverse population,
encouraging us to honor the innate dignity of each human person,
and inspiring us to respect the differences in culture and experience
that have traditionally strengthened our common life.   
May they be wise stewards of the many resources — human, natural and economic — with which you have so richly blessed us.
May they help us to restore the honor and dignity of the great tradition of public service that has long distinguished our State and
may they and their families be given a glimpse of the fruits that flow from their sacrifices as they dedicate themselves to pursuing the common good over self-interest.
We ask all of these things of you, O Lord,
trusting that you are indeed the source of all that is good.

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