Unmissable religious rituals for the day of the inauguration


Religious rituals have been practiced for years during presidential inauguration ceremonies as a natural part of American political tradition.

Since the country’s inception, US presidents were considered one of the most important representatives of social and religious values.

Joe Biden took office on Wednesday reciting the oath of office in a heavily guarded but infrequently attended ceremony at the United States Capitol.

The day begins with the religious service

Prior to the ceremony, Biden, the second Catholic president, attended mass with new Vice President Kamala Harris at St. Matthew the Apostle’s Cathedral, where the funeral of John F. Kennedy, the country’s first Catholic ruler, was held. took place in 1963.

Several presidents have chosen St. John’s Episcopal Church, also known as the “Presidents’ Church,” for their inaugural service, including Donald Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

Prayer of invocation before the oath of office

At each swearing-in ceremony, a priest prays and wishes the new US president good luck before taking the oath.

For Biden, Catholic priest Leo J. O’Donovan delivered the prayer. The complete prayer is as follows:

Merciful and merciful God, in this sacred time, we come before you in need, even on our knees.

But we come even more with hope and with our eyes raised again to the vision of a more perfect union in our country – a union of all our citizens to promote general well-being and to secure the blessings of freedom for ourselves. and our posterity.

We are a people of many races, creeds and colors, national origins, cultures and styles, now many more and our land much larger than when Archbishop John Carroll wrote his prayer for the investiture of George Washington ago 232 years old.

Archbishop Carroll prayed that you, O Creator of All, would assist with your spirit of “holy counsel and strength, the President of this United States, that his administration may be righteous and be of great service to your people “.

Today we confess our past failures to live by our vision of equality, inclusion and freedom for all.

Yet we are even more resolutely committed now to renewing the vision, caring for one another in word and deed, especially those less fortunate among us, and thus become a light to the world.

There is a power in each of us that lives by turning to each of us – a push from the Spirit to cherish, care for, and stand with others and especially those who need it most. It is called love and its way is to always give more.

Today it is called American patriotism, born not of power and privilege, but of concern for the common good with wickedness towards no one and with charity for all.

For our new president, we ask you for the wisdom Solomon sought when he knelt before you and prayed for an understanding heart so that I can rule your people and know the difference between good and evil.

We trust the advice in James’ letter: “If one of you lacks wisdom, ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be granted to you.

Pope Francis reminded us how important it is to dream together. “By ourselves,” he wrote, “we risk seeing mirages, things that are not there. Dreams, on the other hand, are built together.

Be with us, Holy Mystery of Love, as we dream together.

Help us under our new president to reconcile the people of our land, to restore our dream and to invest it with peace and justice and the joy which is the overflow of love.

To the glory of your name forever. Amen.

Biden sworn in on a 19th-century family bible

Biden was sworn in on a bible that has been in his family for nearly 130 years, continuing a tradition he has carried on through his long political career.

He put his left hand on the five-inch-thick bible that featured a Celtic cross on the blanket that was held by First Lady Jill Biden and took the 35-word oath taken by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Biden first used it when he was first sworn in to the Senate in 1973. Since then he has used it whenever he takes the oath, including his swearing in as Vice President in 2009 and 2013.

The inheritance was also used by Biden’s son Beau when he was sworn in as Delaware attorney general in 2007.

By convention, incoming presidents raise their right hand and place the left on a bible while taking the oath.

Although no law requires the president to say “So help me God” at the end of the oath or to use the Bible, both were used in many inauguration ceremonies. The debate over who was the first president to use “So help me God” continues as some say George Washington, others point to Chester A. Arthur as the founding father of the tradition.

First address as president

The majority of a president’s first speech after his oath refers to religious elements and the Bible.

Basing his speech on “unity,” Biden said that “restoring the soul and securing America’s future requires more than words” and “it requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy, the unit. The unit “.

He also quoted Saint Augustine to stress the importance of unity.

“Many centuries ago, Saint Augustine, a saint of my Church, wrote that a people were a multitude defined by the common objects of their love,” said Biden.

Those “common objects” that define Americans, he said, are “opportunity, security, freedom, dignity, respect, honor and, yes, the truth.”

Biden also attended a virtual inaugural prayer service Thursday.

Traditional prayer is normally held at the Washington National Cathedral with representatives of different religions and beliefs, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was virtual.

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Ruth R. Culp