Lipinski's Resolution Honoring the Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin on His Tenth Anniversary as House Chaplain Passes the House

Former La Grange Pastor and Chicago Native is First Catholic to Serve as House Chaplain

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski's resolution, H. Res. 1216, honoring the Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin on his tenth year of service as Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives was approved by a vote of 412-0. A Chicago native and the first Roman Catholic to serve as House Chaplain, Father Coughlin was pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in La Grange, located in the Third District, from 1985 to 1990.

Prior to the vote, Congressman Lipinski delivered the following statement on the floor of the House:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of House Resolution 1216, congratulating and thanking the Reverend Daniel P. Coughlin for his ten years of service as Chaplain of the House of Representatives.  For the past decade, Father Coughlin has admirably fulfilled his duties as Chaplain, blessing this chamber with his thoughtful, eloquent prayers, conducting prayer meetings and spiritual exercises, and - most importantly - fortifying Members, their families, and congressional staff with his wise and generous counsel.

"March 23rd marked the 10th anniversary of Father Coughlin's swearing in as the 59th House Chaplain, and - most historically - the first Catholic to hold the position. If you look back to the day Father Coughlin assumed office, Pope John Paul II was visiting Israel for the first time.  Gas was under $2 a gallon. And in my home state, and Father Coughlin's, the newspapers noted that morning that a certain attorney from the South Side of Chicago had just lost his bid to join this body.  It was, indeed, a long time ago. A great deal has happened since then, and through it all, Father Coughlin has responded to the demands of history, tradition, and faith with great devotion.  

"As many residents of my district and the Chicago region know, Father Coughlin's service dates back far beyond what he has rendered over the last decade. In fact, just this past Saturday, my wife and I were honored with the opportunity to be a part of the celebration in Chicago of the 50th Anniversary of Father Coughlin's ordination as a priest.

"Father Coughlin grew up on the North Side of Chicago and knew from a young age that he would become a priest. He went on to receive 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 for Divine Worship in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1969. In 1984, during a year-long sabbatical, he spent five months at a Trappist monastery in Kentucky; served the poor in India; and served as scholar-in-residence at North American College in Vatican City. Upon his return, he spent five years as pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in La Grange in my district; I know that he is still much-beloved at St. Francis. Following this, he became Vicar for Priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago.

"After these four 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 have shown that he was undoubtedly correct.  I know that in my time in the House, I have seen and experienced this. My own experiences with Father Coughlin range from the opportunity I had with him five years ago this week to be in Rome for the inauguration of Pope Benedict the Sixteenth, to the many conversations we have had about what is currently happening in Chicago, including how his ageless mother - and her Chicago Cubs - are doing.

"Mr. Speaker, Father Coughlin's devotion to his faith and the spiritual welfare of his fellow men and women is an inspiration. The House of Representatives is indebted to him for his 'good counsel, encouragement, and gentle correction.'

"I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution and in extending to Father Coughlin the sincere thanks and congratulations that he deserves."

Click here to view Congressman Lipinski's remarks on the House floor. 

Click here to view a copy of the resolution.

(April 21, 2010)


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