New Chaplain For U.S. House Of Representatives: Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest Patrick Conroy

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WASHINGTONHouse Speaker John Boehner says he will nominate the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, a Catholic priest who now teaches at Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore., as the next House chaplain.

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Conroy, a 60-year-old native of Washington state, will succeed Father Daniel Coughlin, who retired last month after 11 years in the position and was the first Roman Catholic priest to serve as chaplain.

Conroy would be the 60th House chaplain. The duties include opening each session with a prayer, presiding over memorials and other ceremonies and providing pastoral counseling to the House community.

Conroy entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained a priest in 1983. He has also served as a chaplain at Georgetown University. His nomination goes to the full House later this month.


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The chaplain is an elected officer of the House. In addition to opening proceedings with prayer, a tradition dating back to the First Continental Congress, the chaplain provides pastoral counseling to the House community, coordinates the scheduling of guest chaplains and arranges memorial services for the House and its staff. In the past, chaplains have performed marriage and funeral ceremonies for House members.



Britain responded to the Boston Tea Party in 1774 by passing several laws that became known in America as the Intolerable Acts.  One law closed Boston Harbor until Bostonians paid for the destroyed tea.  Another law restricted the activities of the Massachusetts legislature and gave added powers to the post of governor of Massachusetts.  Those powers in effect made him a dictator.

The American colonists were very angered by these forceful acts.   In response to these actions and laws, the colonist banded together to fight back.  Several committees of colonists called for a convention of delegates from the colonies to organize resistance to the Intolerable Acts.  The convention was later to be called the Continental Congress.

The First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia from Sept. 5 to Oct. 26, 1774, to protest the Intolerable Acts.  Representatives attended from all the colonies except Georgia.  The leaders included Samuel Adams and John Adams of Massachusetts and George Washington and Patrick Henry of Virginia.

The Congress voted to cut off colonial trade with Great Britain unless Parliament abolished the Intolerable Acts.  It approved resolutions advising the colonies to begin training their citizens for war.

They also attempted to define America’s rights, place limits on Parliament’s power, and agree on tactics for resisting the aggressive acts of the English Government.  lt also set up the Contintental Association to enforce an embargo against England.  By the time the first meeting of the Continental Congress ended, hostilities had begun  between Britain and the colonies.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI