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Most Recent Column from Fr. Rutler: June 24, 2010

Most Recent Column from Fr. Rutler

June 24, 2012


Our parish boundaries cover the 29 acres that were the homestead and farm of the Robert Murray family in the eighteenth century. The Murrays were Irish Quakers who emigrated from County Armagh in 1732. Like many pious people who came to America to do good but who also did well, Mr. Murray became the leading shipping merchant in New York City. His large house, Inclenberg, stood between what are now 37th and 36th streets. On September 15, 1776, his wife Mary and her daughters entertained the British general William Howe after his army had arrived at Kip’s Bay, a delaying tactic that enabled General George Washington to escape with about 4,000 Continental troops. Mary’s son Lindley was thought to have been a Loyalist who fled to England. Actually, he had gone there on business and was forced to stay because of polio. He wrote grammar books that were the most widely used in the United States long after his death in 1826. For several days in that crucial September of 1776, British and Hessian troops encamped on what is today the site of our church.

As Independence Day draws near, we remember what Ronald Reagan said in his first inaugural address as governor of California in 1967: “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction.” In our generation, the First Amendment right of freedom of religion is threatened in a serious way by mandates of the current Executive branch of our government. The bishops of the United States unanimously called for a “Fortnight of Prayer” – launched on June 21 in Baltimore, in our nation’s oldest cathedral, and culminating on July 4 in the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in our nation’s capital. There, as in all churches, special devotions will be offered for the intentions of Church and State. The bishops have proposed a “Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty” for these days:

O God our Creator,

Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


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