Msgr. Sullivan to City Council: “Always Stay Gracious”

Posted on February 24, 2016 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

With battles that unite and divide New Yorkers , from  civil rights and land use to Wall Street and carriage horses, New York City Council meetings can be tough.

So today, February 24, the council speaker called on Catholic Charities Executive Director Msgr. Kevin Sullivan for help to harness diverse perspectives for the common good.

Below is Msgr. Sullivan’s invocation that inspired the council this morning.

Its message – “always stay gracious” – can inspire all of us today.

Check it out and let the people say “Amen.”


Almighty and Merciful God, we call upon you in different languages and by different names. We thank you for that diversity.  But also help us to never forget that you are one and that your one spirit dwells in each of us.  Help us to live and act in a way that recognizes and advances the dignity that your presence in and among us demands. 

In our busy and hectic world, we thank you for this opportunity to pause briefly to seek your consolation and guidance. Almighty God, we ask you to turn our thoughts and actions away from our own self-interests toward the common interests of the people of this great City. 

Lord our agenda is straight forward and easy to speak: children well-educated, neighborhoods safe, families decently housed, newcomers from many countries welcomed, senior nutritiously fed, people working at decent jobs with living wages, youth with opportunities and hope.  Lord that agenda, simply spoken, is difficult to achieve.  So give your strength to persevere and  pursue it zealously and steadfastly.    

Lord, we do know that our differing perspectives are at times accompanied with expressions of our passions that can impede our progress toward the common good.  

So let me end this prayer by borrowing from a Church girl from Houston, now also at least a part-time New Yorker.  In her recent performance and video, Beyonce ended with a sung piece of advice: “always stay gracious.” – Sadly, that phrase was overlooked not merely by some commentators, but advice unheeded by too many of us in our daily actions. 

Lord, we need, and therefore ask your grace to remain gracious in the midst of our hard fought battles to advance justice and compassion. 


Almighty and Merciful God
O Dieu,  Tout Puissant y misericordieux
PH Wanneng De, PH Tsiai De, Tianchu
(Fuh Wah neng duh;  Fuh sigh eye duh, Tee an chu)
O Dios poderosoa y misericordioso

Or as BEY would pray – “Lord may we “always stay gracious.” 

And let the people say:  Amen.