Ascension prays for the nation

Leslie D. Rose @DvilleNewsie @Editor_Citizen

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families.

About seven years ago, former Parish President Tommy Martinez started a parish-wide observance of the national event, with the Ascension Parish prayer luncheon. Held this year on May 5 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, hosted by Parish President Kenny Matassa.

A multitude of community leaders and representative of community groups read prayers for military, media, business, education, church, family, and government.

Among those selected to pray was the Honorable Judge Marilyn Lambert of the Ascension Parish Court, who prayed for government.

"If there was ever a time our government needed your guidance - it is today," Lambert said, opening her prayer with a personal message.

Others involved with the luncheon were Gloria Bailey of St. Paul Baptist Church - Gonzales, Ken Dawson and John Connelly of Ascension Parish Government, Pastor Beverly Bilbo of The Miracle Center and Praise Church, The Church at St. Amant, Ascension Parish Clerk of Court the Honorable Bridget Hanna, Household of Faith Worship Team, Master Sergeant Tanya Whitney, Allison B. Hudson of the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, Jessica Geason of Ascension Parish Schools, Father Jerry Martin of St. John Church, the Rev. Eugene Gullett of Sorrento Baptist Church, Pastor Scott Bledsoe of Household of Faith, and the Rev. Charles Brown - city councilman, Donaldsonville and pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church.

Lunch was prepared and served by the Jambalaya Association and student volunteers. Students from Donaldsonville High School, Ascension Christian Elementary and Prairieville Middle also participated in the event, by way of ROTC colors presentation, recitation of The Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of The National Anthem, respectively.

Parish President Kenny Matassa gave an emotional speech to close the event, in which he praised the power of prayer.

"Everything I do is not going to be perfect, or the right thing, but I make the best choices I can," he said. "I know the power of prayer - it has helped me get through my lowest points and celebrate at my highest.

We need prayer - not only for individuals, but as a community."

The 2016 National Day of Prayer theme was "Wake up America." Next year, the event will be held on Thursday, May 4 - a theme has not yet been made known.