House Chaplain gives opening prayer after rescinding resignation

The Rev. Pat Conroy, the chaplain for the US House of Representatives, returned to the floor Monday to give the opening prayer on Congress’ first day back in session since an uproar ignited over his since-rescinded resignation.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle grew frustrated at the end of April after learning that Conroy, a Jesuit priest, was asked to resign by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office. Last week, while Congress was in recess, Conroy rescinded his resignation and alleged that Ryan’s chief of staff suggested to him “maybe it’s time that we had a Chaplain that wasn’t a Catholic,” a claim Ryan’s chief of staff denied.

Ryan accepted Conroy’s decision, saying the chaplain will remain in his post for the rest of his term, which ends in January. Ryan said he and Conroy would meet this week, though it’s not when that is scheduled to happen.

His opening prayer did not appear to contain any blatant or subtle messages about the kerfuffle.

The full prayer:

“Let us pray. We give you thanks, oh God, for giving us another day. As the members return to Washington, may they be encouraged and empowered by their constituents to be their best selves in serving in the people’s house. May the disagreements that seem to perjure give way to good faith efforts to find solutions to the issues facing Your nation in a manner consistent with the great traditions of our Republican form of government. May all that is done within the people’s house this day for your greater honor and glory. Amen.”

Whether he rescinded his resignation or not, Conroy would have still been on the job this week, as his resignation was not effective until May 24.

While the chamber briefly opened Monday for legislative business, most members don’t return to the floor until later Monday for votes.