WASHINGTON (CNS) — Jesuit Father Patrick J. Conroy, chaplain of the House of Representatives since 2011, asked for prayers for President Donald J. Trump, Congress and the American people in a benediction following a post-inaugural luncheon held Jan. 20 inside the Capitol.

“We ask a special blessing upon our new president, Donald Trump,” prayed Father Conroy. “Give him an understanding heart to discern between good and evil. May he be strengthened in his work and grow in understanding, as he proves ever attentive to the American people.

“We pray that he might become his best self.”

Father Conroy, 66, who once had dreams of becoming a lawyer and a U.S. senator before hearing the call to priesthood, then prayed for lawmakers.

“Bless as well all those who are in place to exercise power in our nation,” he said. “Save them from seeking those things eschewed by Solomon — long life, riches for self and the lives of enemies — and impel them to seek the gift of discernment so as to understand justice.”

The priest, who split his youth between divorced parents in Washington state and the Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital, also prayed for the American people.

“Lord, may the people of this nation stand with our president and all of our leaders to face any challenge, to endure any difficulty without fear, learn how to accept every success and every failure with grace, and support our president and leaders with encouragement and prayer,” he said.

Father Conroy, prior to becoming House chaplain, had been a theology teacher, campus ministry assistant and coach at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon, and long served as a pastor to Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Ordained in 1983, he also had spent a decade as a campus minister at Jesuit-run Georgetown University in Washington.

The post-inaugural luncheon is a traditional affair attended by the president and vice president along with their wives prior to the inaugural parade.