The U.S. Capitol the morning of the inauguration of the country's 46th president. Photo by The White House, via Wikimedia Commons.

Jesuit priest Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J., delivered the invocation at the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the nation’s second Catholic president, on January 20. [Read the full text of his invocation.]

Fr. O’Donovan taught theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge from 1974 to 1985 and again in 1988-89. Weston Jesuit reaffiliated with Boston College, and joining with the University's Institute of Pastoral Ministry and Religious Education and C21 Online, formed the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry in 2008.

Fr. O’Donovan also served as president of Georgetown University from 1989 to 2001. He is currently the director of mission for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.

In his prayer before the oath of office was administered to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Fr. Donovan said: “Today, we confess our past failures to live according to our vision of equality, inclusion, and freedom for all. Yet we resolutely commit still more now to renewing the vision, to caring for one another in word and deed, especially the least fortunate among us, and so becoming a light for the world.”

Fr. O’Donovan cited Pope Francis in his invocation and closed with these words: “Be with us, Holy Mystery of Love, as we dream together. Help us under our new President to reconcile the people of our land, restore our dream, and invest it with peace and justice and the joy that is the overflow of love.”


Kathleen Sullivan | University Communications | January 2021