Congratulating Reverend Daniel P. Coughlin on 10th Year of Service as House Chaplain04/21/2010
March 23 marked the 10th anniversary of Father Coughlin's swearing in as the 59th Chaplain of the House of Representatives and, most importantly, as some of my colleagues have mentioned, the first Catholic to hold this position. If you look back to the day that Father Coughlin assumed office, Pope John Paul II was visiting Israel for the first time. Gas was under $2 a gallon. And a certain attorney from the South Side of Chicago, the newspapers were just reporting on his bid, unsuccessfully, to join this body. It was indeed a long time ago and a lot has changed in those 10 years, but through it all Father Coughlin has responded to the demands of history, tradition, and faith with great devotion.
As many residents of my district in the Chicago region know, Father Coughlin's service dates back far beyond what he has rendered here over the past decade. In fact, just this past Saturday, as Representative Sensenbrenner was just mentioning, I also had the opportunity, with my wife, Judy, to be a part of the celebration of Father Coughlin's 50th anniversary as a Catholic priest.
Father Coughlin grew up on the North Side of Chicago and knew from a young age he would become a priest. He received degrees from St. Mary of the Lake University and Loyola University.
He was a parish priest before he was named the first Director of the Office of Divine Worship in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1969. His time during his year-long sabbatical, spending 5 months at a Trappist monastery in Kentucky, serving the poor in India, and serving as scholar-in-residence at North American College in Vatican City really shows the breadth and the depth of Father Coughlin's abilities. Upon his return, he spent 5 years as pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in La Grange in my district. I know that he is much beloved at his parish at St. Francis. I hear about it very often from many of my constituents and friends. Following this, he became Vicar for Priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
After 4 decades of service, Father Coughlin was appointed House Chaplain by Illinois' own former Speaker, Dennis Hastert, on the recommendation of Cardinal Francis George. In announcing his choice, former Speaker Hastert predicted that ''Daniel Coughlin will bring to the House a caring and healing heart.'' The past 10 years has shown that he was undoubtedly correct. I know this from my own time in the House, having seen and experienced this. My own experiences with Father Coughlin range from the opportunity I had with him 5 years ago this week in Rome to be a part of the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI and also the many conversations I have had with Father Coughlin on what is currently happening in Chicago, including how his ageless mother and her Chicago Cubs are doing. I think this connection, being a Catholic from Chicago, has really especially made our relationship close over these 5-plus years I have been in the House.
Mr. Speaker, Father Coughlin's devotion to his faith and spiritual welfare of his fellow men and women is an inspiration. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution.
(April 21, 2010)