Our bulletin company asked that we get the weekly bulletin to them early this week due to Hurricane Sandy. So I write this column on Sunday night as our state and much of the East Coast prepare for Sandy’s arrival. Due to the declared State of Emergency we had to cancel all our planned events and close the office on Monday. Rhode Island is preparing for the strong winds and heavy rainfall and I pray that no human life is lost and property damage is minimal. Fr. Shemek and I have battened down the hatches, stocked up on bottled water and non-perishables and like you, hope to sit out the hurricane safely! This Tuesday is Election Day and we will elect leaders for our town, state and nation. Our Church teaches that “responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation." So in order to exercise this virtue we must vote and participate in the election. We are called not simply to vote for anyone but rather to carefully examine each candidate and learn about their positions on the important moral issues that face our own lives and the life of our state and nation. Where candidates stand on issues such as the sanctity of human life especially the unborn, the protection of marriage between one man and one woman, and the dignity of the human person especially the poor and vulnerable should help us determine who we vote for as Catholics.

As Catholics Tuesday’s election offers us a valuable chance to consider how the messages of the Scriptures and the insights of Catholic teaching can be applied to the priority issues of our society. The U.S. Catholic bishops have urged us to recognize the moral and ethical dimensions of the issues and "to see beyond party politics, to analyze campaign rhetoric critically, and to choose political leaders according to principle, not party affiliation or mere self interest.”

I have included a reflection by Archbishop Charles Chaput on Catholic Citizenship in this week’s bulletin for your review before the election. The Archbishop recently encouraged Catholics “minimally to vote, maximally to run for political office, and make sure that they’re Catholic prior to being Democrat or Republican and that they put that into practice politically. We do believe in the separation of church and state, but we don’t believe in the separation of faith from our political life. It’s very important for Catholics to make distinctions when voting that they never support intrinsic evils like abortion, which is evil in all circumstances.” Sound advice for us as we prepare to vote on Tuesday.

So as we prepare to vote in the election, may we also pray for our town, state and nation and for all who hold or seek public office. God Bless. God Bless America!