Cardinal Dolan Opens Republican Convention with Prayer


Cardinal Dolan declared “pray we must” five times as he offered a prayer to open the first night of the Republican National Convention Aug. 24.

“Let us pray and pray we must as grateful citizens of the country we boldly claim to be one nation under God,” said Cardinal Dolan in opening his prayer as he stood near New York Harbor with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

“Pray we must, praising the Lord for a country where freedom of religion is so cherished, where both Republicans and Democrats begin their conventions heads bowed in prayer.”

Cardinal Dolan continued his one-minute, 45-second prayer by remembering those suffering from Covid-19, doctors and nurses treating them, police protecting troubled cities, immigrants, refugees, elders in nursing homes and hospice, U.S. troops keeping peace and the innocent life of the baby in the womb.

The cardinal also prayed for people around the world threatened by religious persecution, plague, hunger, drugs, human trafficking and war.

“Pray we must in thanksgiving, dear God, for democracy as we ask your hand almighty Father upon this convention and the nominees of both parties, His wisdom upon an electorate so eager to perform its duty of faithful citizenship,” said Cardinal Dolan in closing the prayer.

“Pray we do, for we dare claim in God we trust. Amen.”

The prayer by Cardinal Dolan opened a night featuring many speakers including President Donald J. Trump.

The week before, Father James Martin, S.J., editor-at-large at America magazine, and Sister Simone Campbell, S.S.S., offered prayers during the Democratic National Convention.

Cardinal Dolan offered prayer at the Republican National Convention for the first time since 2012 when he also did the same at the Democratic National Convention. He shared with his Facebook followers hours before offering his convention prayer his statement from Aug. 18 explaining why he agreed to say a prayer at the Republican National Convention.

“As a priest, one of my most sacred obligations is to try and respond positively whenever I am invited to pray,” said Cardinal Dolan in the statement.

“Prayer is speaking to God, offering Him praise, thanking Him for His many blessings, and asking for His intercession; it is not political or partisan. “

That is why I have accepted an invitation to pray at the Republican National Convention. My agreeing to pray does not constitute an endorsement of any candidate, party, or platform. Had I been invited to offer a prayer for the Democratic National Convention, I would have happily accepted, just as I did in 2012. 

“It is my hope that, during this tumultuous time in our nation’s history, people of all religious faiths or none at all might join together in seeking peace and reconciliation in our hearts, in our cities and in our country.”


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