On April 27, more than 1,500 Catholics are expected to gather for the 7th Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast (NCPB) in Washington, D.C.
The breakfast’s theme will be, “Celebrating the Beautification of John Paul the Great” and the keynote address will be given by His Excellency Bishop William Lori, of the Diocese of Bridgeport, who serves as the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus. There will also be a special guest speaker, Newt Gingrich.
“We are pleased that Bishop Lori and Speaker Gingrich will be addressing the breakfast this year,” Leonard Leo, President of the NCPB stated. “This year promises to be a great event for our attendees, and we are looking forward to hosting these and other dynamic speakers, and screen several short videos, addressing a number of very timely and interesting topics of interest to Catholics, particularly the Beatification of Pope John Paul the Great.” Leo added.
Why could this matter? The Catholic vote is arguably the swing vote in a general election. Moreover, this might signal that Gingrich has the potential to tap into some national Catholic money — money that went to Mitt Romney, a Mormon, last time around (this was a source of frustration for then-Sen. Sam Brownback, a Catholic convert).
What is more, Leonard Leo, though not a household name, is one of the most important behind-the-scenes power brokers in the conservative movement. If he should support Gingrich (and it’s premature to speculate that this means he will) — it would be a clear signal that Gingrich’s campaign wasn’t merely a side show — but that it was gaining real traction among serious national conservative leaders.