WASHINGTON – Hours before he was to be sworn in to his second term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino repeated his statement of two years ago – perhaps because he sees a bigger need.
We need all the divine intervention we can get, Marino, R-Lycoming Township, said Wednesday following a Mass at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church on Capitol Hill.
Marino and fellow Republican, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Hazleton, attended the Mass celebrated by Monsignor John Jordan, pastor at St. Eulalia in Thornhurst and a native of West Pittston.
Congressman-elect Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, attended the Mass, as did U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney, D-Cold Spring, N.Y.
Jordan, former superintendent of schools for the Scranton Diocese and former principal at Bishop Hoban High School, said he was happy to celebrate the Mass for the congressmen, who he called good Catholic men who always have been close to the church.
They again asked me to pray with them and to put God's blessing on their work, Jordan said.
During his homily, Jordan quoted William Shakespeare, saying, If we don't have our good name, then what do we have? He said Marino, Barletta, Cartwright and Maloney should bring their good names to a new Congress.
Work for the common good, he said. We're all the same people. Offer your name in service together.
With that said, Jordan called the four men to the altar, bestowed a blessing on them and congratulated them.
Marino, like Barletta, recently voted to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. He said the 99 percent of American people should continue to have tax breaks. It was the right thing to do, Marino said. Now we have to cut spending.
And should President Barack Obama come calling to raise the debt ceiling, Marino quickly shot back, That's a whole new ball game. Washington needs to be downsized, he said. If that doesn't happen, Marino said America can expect a partial shutdown of the federal government.
Barletta said beginning his first day in the new Congress with a prayer was important for him. I hope in this Congress we see more civility, he said. We have to work together across the aisle for the American people.
Barletta said Republicans and Democrats have different ideals and principles, but the only way to eradicate the gridlock that has plagued Congress is through bipartisanship. We have to find areas of common ground, Barletta said. That's why I reached out to (Cartwright) yesterday as soon as I got here. We all serve Northeastern Pennsylvania and the country.
Barletta visited Cartwright's office Wednesday and presented him with framed jerseys of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (now RailRiders) and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Barletta's new office was formerly occupied by former U.S. Rep. Connie Mack of Florida, who lost his bid for a Senate seat. Barletta's former office was the first office assigned to Richard M. Nixon.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey's office was once occupied by Sen. John F. Kennedy. A picture of Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, seated at a table in front of a fireplace, is on display in Casey's office.