White House official to headline National Catholic Prayer Breakfast
Christopher White April 20, 2019
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will headline next week’s National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.
Mulvaney’s addition to the roster was announced on Thursday. He will join Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) founder Curtis Martin, and Sister Bethany Madonna of the Sisters of Life.
The National Catholic Prayer breakfast takes place each spring and brings together more than 1,000 Catholic leaders to the nation’s capital for a morning of prayer and speeches. The event was founded in 2004 as a response to Saint Pope John Paul II’s call for “a new evangelization.”
While the event is non-partisan, over the years, speakers have been predominantly conservative Catholics - among them former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Ambassador for Religious Liberty Sam Brownback, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former Senator Rick Santorum, Vice President Mike Pence, and former President George W. Bush during four years of his presidency.
Mulvaney, a Catholic, was named acting White House Chief of Staff to President Donald Trump in December 2018. He also serves as director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Previously, he served as a congressman from South Carolina, where among other things, he championed the state’s ultrasound bill in 2015, which required doctors to perform ultrasounds for pregnant women before performing an abortion.
Prior to joining the Trump administration, Mulvaney was a vocal critic of the president, and in particular, his policies at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Next week’s event will not mark the first time Mulvaney has keynoted a major religious event. Last December, he addressed the annual gala dinner of In Defense of Christians, a leading organization that advocates for Christians in the Middle East.
Mulvaney attended a Catholic high school in Charlotte, North Carolina and Georgetown University.
Olmsted, who was announced as a speaker in February, serves on the pro-life committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). In August, after former papal ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, published a letter claiming that Pope Francis was aware of now former cardinal and former priest Theodore McCarrick’s history of sexual misconduct and failed to act, and ultimately demanding his resignation, Olmsted issued a statement in support of the former nuncio.
“I have known Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò for 39 years,” he said in a statement at the time. “I ask that Archbishop Viganò’s testimony be taken seriously by all, and that every claim that he makes be investigated thoroughly.”
Martin, who founded FOCUS over 20 years ago, has helped grow the missionary organization to have an active presence on more than 170 college and university campuses throughout the United States.
“The Church and the country are far better off because of them,” said Prayer Breakfast chairman Mark Randall upon the announcement that they would speak at the event.
This year will mark the 15th anniversary of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, which will take place at Washington’s Marriot Marquis Hotel.
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