Closing Prayer from the 2016 Al Smith Dinner
Here is my closing prayer from the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner last Thursday.
It has been the honor of my predecessors, and now mine as Archbishop of New York, to conclude this joyful and historic evening with a word of gratitude to all of you, and more solemnly, to the Lord.
Pardon my congestion and cough… I’m afraid I’m coming down with a cold, which is completely understandable given the fact that, for the last two hours, I’ve had a seat between our two candidates in what’s probably the iciest place on the planet. Where’s “global warming” when you need it?
In the name of the members of the devoted board of the Al Smith Foundation, who generously underwrite this endeavor, and carefully distribute and account for the fruit of this dinner, I thank all of you. Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump, and distinguished leaders in religion, public service, commerce, education, communication, health care, charity and philanthropy here graciously present on our dais and in this radiant ballroom.
Two other persons are here with us this happy evening: the first are those thousands of women and children in this city we cherish as our earthly home who will benefit from the proceeds of this event: I’m talking about the African American mom in the Bronx eager for a scholarship to get her children into one of our renowned inner-city Catholic schools; of the troubled young mother needing support and encouragement to bring the tiny baby in the sanctuary of her womb to birth; of the Mexican immigrant mom approaching our Catholic Charities for help in uniting her family, obtaining citizenship, English language instruction, and job training. None of these brave women could afford a ticket to the Al Smith Dinner, as it’s more than they’d make in a month, but they’re sure grateful you could, because, as of tomorrow, thanks to all of you, six million dollars will begin to flow out to lift them up.
And the other Person who is really here with us this evening? The Lord! He’s told us in the Scriptures we Jews, Christians and Moslems cherish that He’s in the midst of any event characterized by love, care, concern, and service; His Son Jesus, is here in our midst; His bride, the Church is honored to host an event affirming the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of all human life.
This is an evening where people of faith, friendship, and patriotism come together in unity and some fun to salute America and the man whose devotion to those in need earned him the name the Happy Warrior. Whether we’ve lived up to that tradition this evening, I leave to your judgment.
So please stand and join me in prayer:
We praise you, Lord, for our faith, our families, our friends, our call to serve those in need. We are grateful to be citizens of “one nation under God,” who acclaim that “in God we trust.” Bless our candidates, benefactors, and those whom the Al Smith Foundation has been honored to serve for seven decades. Guide us safely home, both this evening and for all eternity. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.