Fort Meade service member offers prayer at House Chamber
July 11, 2013
On June 27 at noon, Chaplain (Capt.) Angel Berrios did something that he believed is important to the well-being of the nation.
Berrios led the opening prayer for the session of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"I feel that I made a difference because of the prayer," said Berrios, chaplain for the 308th Military Intelligence Battalion.
In February, Berrios contacted the office of Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland's 2nd congressional district and expressed interest in conducting the opening prayer for a session of the House.
The congressman's office asked Berrios to submit his biography, which was then sent to the Office of the Chaplain for the U.S. House of Representatives.
It is the duty of the Chaplain of the House to offer a prayer at the commencement of each day's sitting of the House, as required by the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The prayers are offered in the House Chamber.
Guest chaplains are also nominated personally by a House member to lead the opening prayer.
After Berrios was approved, he was asked to submit a 150-word prayer for consideration.
Berrios said he knew the spiritual message he wanted to communicate. The prayer's emphasis, he said, was on truth.
"There is deception throughout the world in general," Berrios said. "My prayer was about truth."
This was not the first time Berrios performed the opening prayer for a congressional body.
In 2007, he conducted the opening prayer for a session of the U.S. Senate.
At the time, Berrios was a civilian minister for an Assembly of God Church in Savage. Berrios enlisted in the Army in September 2008.
"I am concerned about political matters. ... I do love my country," he said. "I believe in the power of prayer."
Speaker of the House John Boehner introduced Berrios before the prayer. After the prayer, Ruppersberger read his biography in the House Chamber.
Later, Berrios had his photograph taken with Boehner, Ruppersberger and the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"I do believe my prayer was heard by God," Berrios said. "God will make a difference as a result."