Mitt Romney has asked fellow Mormon Kenneth Hutchins, a retired Massachussetts police officer, to give the invocation at the Republican party’s national convention, which begins August 27 in Tampa, Florida. When Romney was a Mormon stake president in the 1980s, Hutchins was his counselor in Boston. After Romney was released from the church position to run for the U.S. Senate in 1994, Hutchins replaced him as stake president. Hutchins is currently battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.
For the benediction Romney asked Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic leader who presides over the Archdiocese of New York and is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Dolan’s prayer will be given the final night of the convention after Romney formally accepts the Republican party’s nomination.
The faiths of the convention’s two prayers reflect the faiths of Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan. Romney, who previously has been reluctant to discuss his faith, has a deep Mormon heritage and has served in a number of Mormon ecclesiastical positions. Ryan, a lifelong Catholic, has mirrored his church’s beliefs in a number of his conservative policy positions.
The Romney-Ryan ticket will be the first Republican ticket in modern history not to include a Protestant Christian. Romney is the first Mormon candidate to ever be nominated by a major political party.