Praying at the National Catholic Prayer BreakfastI traveled to Washington D.C. late last week to attend the 3rd Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. The event is designed to bring together Catholics both in the Washington area and elsewhere to pray for the nation and its public officials and to make a statement that those of us who believe in God have an important voice and an important place in the public square.
Over 1700 people gathered early on a rainy Friday morning at the Washington Hilton. After going through security – President Bush was to address the attendees – and taking their seats, we were asked to be silent as five priests took the stage to lead the people in the Rosary. And so we prayed for the nation, for the unborn, for our troops, for our political leaders, and for all the intentions of those present.
We greeted the president who cracked a few jokes and then thanked us for our commitment to life and to the nation. He reminded us that we as a nation must welcome the unborn and protect them in law. He thanked those who have been involved in the cause of life.
After he concluded his remarks and breakfast was served, we heard from Bishop Molino who gave a primer on the natural law and the relation of the civil law to the natural law.
The application of his speech to the current debate on the role of religion and morality in public life could not be more timely.
There were a number of distinguished persons in attendance, including Chief Justice John Roberts, who received a very warm reception.
EWTN broadcasted the event live and there was a tribute to the late John Paul II.
There was a special relief effort for the Catholic schools in New Orleans devastated by last year’s Hurricane Katrina.
From the opening Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral the evening before, throughout the morning and even afterward – there were two talks directed toward the importance of prayer – there was a the continuing theme that both as individuals and as a nation, we must to be humble and prayerful before God if we are to seriously address the current conflicts and challenges of the day.