Log in

A candle and prayers for legislators

A white candle burns in a red lamp just inside the front door of St. Augustine Church in Montpelier, a reminder to all who pass to pray for state legislators.
“One of the highest forms of charity is praying for people,” commented Phil Lawson, director of evangelization and catechesis for the Diocese of Burlington, who attended the 8 a.m. Mass in the Capital City church Jan. 3 at which the candle was lit for the legislative session that began the following day. “As people of faith, we can pray for our government leaders in their important responsibilities.”
Such a candle has been burning at St. Augustine’s during legislative sessions for more than a dozen years.
Msgr. Peter Routhier, pastor of St. Augustine Parish, invited members of the congregation at the Mass to gather near the candle as he lit it and acknowledge their desire to pray for government officials so they will enact laws that protect life and promote “the common good.”
Next to the candle hangs a reminder of the candle’s purpose: “As you pass this lamp, offer a prayer for our state legislature. We, the parishioners of St. Augustine, who share this city with the men and women who gather here from across our beloved state to serve in the legislature, keep this candle burning while the state legislature is in session, as a sign of our ongoing prayer that the Holy Spirit may guide them in wisdom, knowledge, counsel, understanding, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord.”
St. Paul encouraged Christians to pray for the Roman leaders “regardless of politics,” Lawson said. “We pray in the Our Father: ‘…Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’”
He said the prayers for the lawmakers can help to “build bridges and make them aware we are here to pray for them and that they are always welcome here” and to affirm the dignity of their work.
In the prayers before the lighting of the candle, Msgr. Routhier prayed that legislators would execute laws with justice and mercy and seek to restrain crime, vice and immorality. “Let the light of your divine wisdom direct the deliberations,” he continued, “and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government.”
After the Mass, St. Augustine parishioners Bill and Maureen Moore agreed that having the candle at the door as churchgoers go in and out is a good reminder to prayer for the legislators. “Most of the time people are screaming and yelling at them,” Mr. Moore said. “It’s good to pray for the wellbeing of everybody and … the needs of people.”
The legislators “need prayers too,” his wife said.
The week after the legislative opening, Lawson plans to coordinate the distribution of flyers to the more than 180 members of the legislature with a picture of the candle, indicating the prayers being said for them and their intentions.  The legislators will be invited to a Mass for them and their intentions on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 8 a.m.  A light reception will follow.
Subscribe to this RSS feed
Bishop's Fund Annual Appeal