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Celebrating the Fourth of July

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Did you know that there was one Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence?

Charles Carroll (September 19, 1737 – November 14, 1832), known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton or Charles Carroll III to distinguish him from his similarly-named relatives, was a wealthy Maryland planter and an early advocate of independence from Great Britain. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and Confederation Congress and later as first United States Senator for Maryland. Carroll was elected to the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, and remained a delegate until 1778. He arrived too late to vote in favor of the Declaration of Independence, but was present to sign the official document that survives today. After both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826, Carroll became the last living signatory of the Declaration of Independence.

Carroll is remembered in the third stanza of the state song Maryland, My Maryland.
Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
Remember Howard’s warlike thrust,–
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland

By the time of the American Revolution in the 1770s, Catholics formed 1.6%, or 40,000 persons, white and black of the 2.5 million population of the thirteen colonies. Perhaps a majority lived in Maryland where they may have been 10% of the colony’s inhabitants 230,000 inhabitants. (Today, Catholics number approximately 25% of the United States population)

Pope Pius VII was the Pontiff when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

There were no Diocese established in the colonies. The first would be the Diocese of Baltimore established on November 6, 1789. The first Bishop was John Carroll.

Before the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, this territory was the Diocese of Bardstown established April 8, 1808. Benedict Joseph Flaget was the first Bishop. On June 19, 1821, the Diocese of Cincinnati was established. Edward Fenwick O.P. was the first Bishop of Cincinnati.

Prayer for our Nation

O God our Creator,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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