Thursday, August 21st, 2008
On Thursday, October 2, an evening lecture on Catholic political life will be delivered at the Church of Our Saviour (Park Avenue at East 38th Street). Edward Mechmann, the public policy director for the archdiocesan Family Life/Respect Life Office, will speak on “The Conscience of Catholic Voting.” Sponsored by the of the Family Life Office, the evening will begin at 5:45 PM. A question and answer session will follow Mr. Mechmann’s remarks. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Also relating to the upcoming election, the bishops of the United States have called on all American Catholics to prepare spiritually for the first Tuesday in November. They suggest in particular praying a novena. From the USCCB:
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) invites U.S. Catholics to pray before the November election a novena for life, justice, and peace called Novena for Faithful Citizenship. It is a podcast and available for download.
Joan Rosenhauer, Associate Director for the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, said that the special novena is part of “the bishops’ campaign to help Catholics develop well-formed consciences for addressing political and social questions.” The bishops issued their statement on forming consciences for faithful citizenship in November 2007.
Helen Osman, USCCB Secretary of Communications, expressed hope that the novena could help “Catholics enter into prayerful reflection as they prepare to vote.” Seventy-one percent of all visitors to the USCCB’s web site download the free podcasts of the daily NAB readings. These same visitors are encouraged to use the novena podcast for prayer. Osman said that the USCCB wants to support Catholics as they weigh pre-election issues and that “providing a prayer resource on the Web can help us focus on our common values and identity as Catholics.” The novena emphasizes the dignity of life, justice, and peace.
The Novena for Faithful Citizenship runs for nine days and can be used consecutively, one day each week, for nine days prior to the election, or “in any way that works best for a community or individual,” said Rosenhauer.
Since St. Pius V, who died in 1572, only one other pope has been raised to the altars, St. Pius X, whose feast we celebrate today.
Born Giuseppe Melchiore Sarto in the northern Italian town of Riese, the future pope and saint was ordained a priest in 1858 for the Diocese of Treviso. After several pastoral assignments, Pius became rector of the seminary and eventually vicar general of the diocese. In the midst of his active service, the young Pius made time for study and contemplation. Throughout his priesthood, he developed his understanding of the doctrines of St. Thomas Aquinas. He also fostered his devotion to the liturgical traditions of the Church, particularly her heritage of Gregorian Chant.
In 1884, Pius was elected Bishop of Mantua. Five years later, he was created a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII and made Patriarch of Venice. As shepherd of these two local churches, Pius effected growth and renewal, especially by reforming the doctrinal and liturgical lives of his priests and seminarians. Pius would carry this same zeal for renewal to the See of Peter, to which he was elected in 1903.