At the start of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session, the Interfaith Council of Sacramento hosted a multi-denominational prayer service. The following are the remarks of Sacramento Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta at the service:
Good morning. A Blessed & Happy New Year to all!
As Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, & in the name of Bishop Soto, our Diocesan Bishop, along with the staff of the Cathedral, and together with my brothers & sisters representing our Faith Communities, we welcome you to this beloved & historic house of worship, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.
This morning we gather to offer our prayers for you, the Legislators of the State of California. As a sign of unity, we gather to ask God's blessing upon you as you embrace the duties of this New Year.
We turn to the words of St.Paul found in his Letter to the Colossians. I believe they express the sentiments of this Prayer Service we offer in your honor:
"...we have been praying for you unceasingly & asking that you may attain full knowledge of God's will through perfect wisdom & spiritual insight. Then you will live a life worthy of the Lord & pleasing to him in every way. By the might of his glory you will be endowed with the strength needed to stand fast, even to endure joyfully whatever may come, giving thanks to the Father...for he has rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son." Let us give thanks to God our Father, because every good & perfect gift comes down to us from above, from the Father of light."
In this New Year, 2017, may the gift of God's "grace & mercy" assist you with the courage necessary to embrace the challenges of the duties & responsibilities of serving the community.
As we journey throughout this New Year, may all of us have a greater appreciation of how our words & actions - or even our silence - can impact us. Be it the impact they may have upon the vulnerable life of our brothers & sisters waiting to be born into this world; or those already born into this society who are voiceless & marginalized; the infirm & those who are suffering & facing the end of life as they anticipate passing from this life to the next.
During this year, as our elected officials and servants of all the citizens of California, we pray, these individuals will not to be forgotten, in the midst of the decision making and outcomes of this year's legislative session. As we pray today, we are reminded by Pope Francis that to work together is to "... 'dialogue fearlessly,' and to do so with understanding and above all, with humility. All in order that you may, with God's help, be elevated to a higher place."
Last year, during Pope Francis' visit with the U.S. Congress, he challenged, not only the U.S. politicians, but all of us: when he stated: "You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics." And His Holiness added: "Politics is an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one, the greatest common good." May this also be our prayer for you this day.
Throughout this year, let us continue to: "believe, adore, hope & love" this Gracious God of ours. May the Spirit of God bless, inspire & guide you and our Governor, & all those in positions of state leadership, as you continue to serve us the people of the great State of California. Be assured of our prayers, not only this day, but throughout this Year of the Lord, 2017. Amen.