The following press release was sent out this morning by the Archdiocese for Military Services:
Auxiliary Bishop F. Richard Spencer delivered the invocation at today’s internationally televised ceremony in Normandy marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when U.S.-led Western Allied forces landed to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation. In the ceremony, attended by U.S. President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande, Bishop Spencer asked divine guidance for government and military leaders as they chart the course of the future.
Bishop Spencer opened his prayer by inviting all six-thousand attending the ceremony to bow their heads. Among them were 400 D-Day veterans along with United States Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, and other senior military leaders.
Here follows the complete text from Bishop Spencer’s invocation:
May we bow our heads together as we join in prayer. Almighty Creator God, as we gather here on holy ground to remember the fallen heroes of yesterday, everything we see and everything we cannot see, exists because of you alone. Peace comes from You, it all belongs to You. Peace exists for Your Glory. History is your story. Our task here today is not to fix the blame for the past, but to fix the course for the future. Give to our government and military leaders the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Help us, oh God, to remember that we are human beings, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all. And whenever we face difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ from one another. May all people of good will, today, join together to work for a more just, a healthier, and a more prosperous world and a peaceful planet. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.
Tomorrow, as the D-Day observance continues into the weekend, Bishop Spencer will celebrate Mass at the American cemetery on Omaha Beach. Bishop Spencer, one of four auxiliaries to His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the U.S. Military Services, serves as Episcopal Vicar for Europe and Asia. He travels extensively from his home base in Germany on pastoral visits to American Catholic military communities scattered far and wide across both continents.