Bishop Barry C. Knestout, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, delivered the invocation at the Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday, Jan. 29. Below is Bishop’s full prayer. You can also watch the invocation here.
“The Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1 says: ‘There is an appointed time for everything and a time for every affair under the heavens.’ Beyond those occasions in Ecclesiastes, we add other times and occasions as we pray today, as you begin this floor session.
“Lord God, maker and sustainer of the heavens and earth, we ask your grace and assistance to make this day a time of prayer for civic leaders, for law enforcement officers, for the military, for peoples in the midst of or under the threat of war or violence, and for our adversaries as well.
“Help us make this day a time for fasting: for victims of abuse and for families, for an end to violence, for justice, peace and the protection of innocent human life at all its stages.
“Help us make this day a time for teaching: to better learn from one another and to seek the truth in heart and mind.
“Help us make this day a time for civility: to be respectful in what we say and how we say it, and to listen attentively with open minds to what others say.
“Help us make this day a time for dialogue: with people of every faith or system of belief – Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, other faith communities, and men and women of good will.
“Help us make this day a time for witness: to live our values of mutual respect, human dignity, compassion for one another, and security without resorting to discrimination.
“Help us make this day a time for service: to continue to provide assistance to those injured, hurting or in need throughout the Commonwealth.
“Help us make this day a time for solidarity: with all who live under the threat of violence and uncertainty each day.
“Help us make this day a time for hope: in God’s grace and in one another.
“Help us make this day a time to pray, teach, engage in dialogue and urge one another and all leaders in our community and our Commonwealth to work together for peace and to overcome injustice.
“I ask this through Christ the Lord, who lives and reigns with you, almighty Father, and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.”