From his stellar remarks last night at the Al Smith Dinner:
Here we are: in an atmosphere of civility and humor, hosted by a Church which claims that “joy is the infallible sign of God’s presence;” men and women; young and old; of every ethnic and racial background;
Democrats, Republicans, and Independents;
Catholics, Christians, Jews, Latter-Day Saints, people of no particular creed;
people of wealth, yes, but some folks as well who barely get by;
guests from Westchester and the Bronx; Dutchess County and Staten Island;
Grateful to be people of faith and loyal Americans;
Loving a country which considers religious liberty our first and most cherished freedom, convinced that faith is not just limited to an hour of Sabbath worship, but affects everything we do and dream;
privileged to be in the company of two honorable men, both called to the noble vocation of public service, whose love for God and country is surpassed only by their love for their own wives and children, and who, as happy as I hope they are to be here with us tonight, would rather be home with Michelle, Ann, and their families.
All of us reverently recalling a man of deep Catholic faith and ringing patriotism, who had a tear in his Irish eyes for what we would call, the “uns;”
– the un-employed
– the un-insured
– the un-wanted
– the un-wed mother, and her innocent, fragile un-born baby in her womb;
– the un-documented
– the un-housed
– the un-healthy
– the un-fed
– the under-educated.
Government, Al Smith believed, should be on the side of these “uns,” but a government partnering with family, Church, parish, neighborhood, organizations and community, never intruding or opposing, since, when all is said and done, it’s in God we trust, not, ultimately, in government or politics.
Al Smith . . . the “happy warrior” on behalf of the “uns” who were so close to Jesus, or to the Native American Kateri Tekakwitha, and the “Angel to the Lepers of Hawaii,” Sister Mary Anne Cope, both women of New York whom this Sunday Pope Benedict will declare saints; so tenderly close to Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta who reminded us of the “five- finger gospel” — “As often as you do it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you do it for me!”
God bless the memory of Al Smith!
God Bless the “uns!”
God bless the Al Smith Foundation in this Archdiocese of New York which continues his solicitude for the “uns!”
God bless all of you for helping them this evening!
God bless our two candidates!
God bless America!