The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Reverend Richard Estrada

Jovenes, Inc.
Los Angeles, CA

Sponsor: Rep. Hilda Solis, (D-CA)
Date of Prayer: 09/19/2007

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

The SPEAKER. Without objection, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Solis) is recognized for 1 minute.

There was no objection.

Ms. SOLIS. Thank you, Madam Speaker, and good morning to all.

It's a privilege and honor today to welcome a dear friend of mine, Father Richard Estrada, who traveled from Los Angeles to be here to provide the House with its opening prayer. I am delighted to present Father Estrada to my colleagues, and I want to thank him for taking the time to be here.

As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, it is fitting to have Father Estrada serve as guest chaplain. Father Estrada has dedicated his entire life to serving those less fortunate than us, particularly the homeless and at–risk youth.

He is the founder and executive director of Jovenes, Inc., a nonprofit organization which serves the homeless and at–risk immigrant youth and other disadvantaged individuals from the East Los Angeles area. He is the associate pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, La Placita, the oldest church probably in the country.

Father Estrada received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of San Francisco and studied theology and pastoral counseling at the Graduate School of Theology in Berkeley, California, the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas, and the Fred C. Neiles School in Whittier, California.

In addition to his advocacy on behalf of the homeless and young people, Father Estrada is a champion for the humane treatment of all immigrants and their families. In fact, I recall him asking me to go with him across the border to place bottles of water for those immigrants that were dying in the fields and in the desert.

I ask my colleagues to welcome Father Richard to the House today. We have before us a great man of honor and compassion.

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

Let us begin this morning by acknowledging the presence of God the Almighty.

Lord, we praise you for having given us this good Earth and having called us to take care of her resources.

Lord, You have blessed us with opportunities and freedom for people of all backgrounds.

Lord, inspire our nation's leaders to seek justice, defend liberty and unite diverse cultures and languages.

Lord, bless our nation's Representatives here today. Fill them with Your wisdom to make laws that will provide for all.

Lord, you made us in your own wonderful image. Look with compassion on families. Remove the arrogance and hatred that infects our hearts. Break down walls that separate us. Unite us in bonds of love. Work through our struggles to accomplish your purpose. In time all people will serve you in harmony.

Lord, God Almighty, we humbly ask you to bless us, now and forever. Amen.

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