14th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Dear Friends,

Happy July 4th to all! Our country was founded as one nation under God, in God we trust. John Quincy Adams, the 6th US president noted: “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” Sadly, today we don’t hear much about the spiritual foundation of our nation. It is not taught in many of our public schools anymore. As Christians, we need to be concerned about the efforts of militant secularists to take out any reference to God in American history and the erosion of Christian values in public life.  It is important for us all to remember that our Capitol abounds with Christian symbols and images.

Did you know:

  • Within the Capitol there are statues of Catholic priests and nuns, and medallions of Pope Innocent III and Pope Gregory IX.
  • On the first floor of the main Reading Room in the Library of Congress there is a statue of St. Paul.
  • In that Library there is a quote from the Book of Proverbs and a reference to God from Shakespeare.
  • There is a chapel in the U.S. Capitol. Prayer meetings for Senators and Congressmen are commonplace throughout.
  • Crucifixes abound in the Capitol.
  • On the front doors of the Capitol are pictures of Franciscans with rosaries.
  • There is a painting in the dome of the burial scene of Hernando De Soto depicting a Mass being celebrated; a priest is shown holding a crucifix during burial prayers.
  • In front of the Federal District Court, across from the National Gallery of Art, there is a depiction of pilgrims praying before a cross – a splendid recognition of religious liberty.
  • On the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 7th St. N.W. is the Temperance Fountain with the inscription of Temperance, Charity, Hope and Faith. Nearby is a quote from St. Paul.
  • Near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, engraved on the sidewalk, there is the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial with an inscription referencing “our firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”
  • There is a frieze on the Supreme Court Building that depicts Moses.
  • The entrance court to the Supreme Court, made of oak, have the Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each door.
  • Inside the Supreme Court, right above where the Justices sit, there is a display of Moses and the Ten Commandments.

If you wish to read more about these symbols, see ‘One Nation Under God: Religious Symbols, Quotes, and Images in Our Nation’s Capitol,’ by Fr. Eugene F. Hemrick. While we look with gratitude to the past to the freedom and liberties fought and won by the first generation Americans, may this July 4th be an occasion for us to look in faith to the future, and commit it and our lives to God and His will. The ancient words of the Psalmist are still true: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal