The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Reverend Samer Youssef

Antiochian Orthodox Church of the Redeemer
Los Altos Hills, CA

Sponsor: Rep. Rep. Anna Eshoo, (D-CA)
Date of Prayer: 07/24/2002

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, this morning the House of Representatives welcomes Father Samer Youssef , who has come here from California, from my congressional district in Northern California in the heart of the Silicon Valley.

On April 7, a tragedy befell our community and the Parish of the Church of the Redeemer in Los Altos Hills, the Antiochian Church. An arsonist set fire to that magnificent church, and it burned to the ground. But Father Youssef and the entire Parish, together with our entire community, firefighters, the sheriff's department, churches, the temple, the Catholic Church came together to heal and his leadership is healing. His leadership has spoken to the magnificence of the great principles of America, that we believe in justice but more importantly or just as importantly we believe in one another.

And so we have come past this tragedy in our community. Together people from throughout our congressional district have placed contributions at the table to not only rebuild the church through their good faith and their contributions but to send a signal to people across our country and across the world that no arsonist, that no one who tries to terrorize our community will win. We are stronger, we are better, we are faith filled because of Who and what we believe in.

So I thank Father Youssef for coming to Washington. I thank him for his faith and leadership, and I thank my colleagues for his warm welcome, to not only the father but to his magnificent family who is seated in the gallery. And we can hear his son's approval, his 18–month–old son's approval.

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

O God, who miraculously revealed Your teaching, that evil cannot be overcome except by good, in the preserved pages of the Scriptures recovered from the arsonist–burned Antiochian Orthodox Church of the Redeemer in Los Altos Hills, California where we read: "You have heard an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth but I say to you do not resist the one who is evil, but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." I beseech You, O Lord, on behalf of these Your servants who are gathered here together under Your divine authority, the members of this House of Representatives, to guide them in all goodness and righteousness for the welfare of this nation. Bestow Your grace, wisdom and strength upon them. Protect them at all times. Enlighten their hearts and minds to be instruments of Your love and compassion in leading this great nation as it seeks to offer Your principles of peace and justice to the entire world; now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

To learn more about Members who have sponsored a Guest Chaplain, please visit the Congressional Biographical Directory