Pastor's Corner 111112

posted Nov 9, 2012, 11:49 AM by Music Director

               As I write this column the first snow of the season is gently falling, courtesy of a good old fashioned “nor’easter.” While the little boy inside me revels in this early weatherly treat, my mind and heart drift to those who are still suffering the effects of “Superstorm Sandy,” which ravished many parts of our state and region just one week ago.  Let’s not forget them.  Rather, let’s keep them in our prayers; and if there is any other kind of assistance we can offer, let’s be generous.  How easily “they” could have been “us!”  (If you were unable to contribute to our special collection taken this weekend at the request of Bishop Galante, you can still send a donation to the parish office marked “Hurricane Relief.”)

               I am also reflecting on the elections that took place this past Tuesday.  Did you get out and vote?   Election Day is a very important one; more important, I think, than any other civic remembrance or celebration, with perhaps the exception of Independence Day.  After all, we might never have had the former were it not for the latter!  While we can easily take the right, duty and privilege of voting for granted, I am both amazed and grateful for living in a nation that can transfer power or reelect officials of government so easily, and then go on with our lives almost as if nothing has happened.

               Think about it:  in many nations there is no “changing of the guard” without violent upheaval.  There may be “elections,” but the governing elite rig them so as to stay in power.  In other places they don’t even bother to go through the charade.  In many nations, Election Day is a very tense one, ballots accompanied by bullets.  And rather than the next day seeing life go on as usual, many find themselves in prisons, hospitals or the grave yard, or spend the day cleaning up debris.  But in this country, this blessed land, the only thing different the day after elections is the weather…this year. 

               So regardless of how you feel about the reelection of President Obama and the election or reelection of other officials -local, regional or national- one thing we can all agree on and celebrate is that in our great nation we can do this without rancor.  One candidate can and will call another to graciously concede defeat and congratulate his/her opponent, rather than sending an armed hit squad to settle his/her disappointment.   Even in close elections when recalls are demanded, sooner or later one party will be declared the winner and no guns will be fired, no tanks will fill the streets. 

               And as for the election itself, do you know that we actually got phone calls in the parish office from people asking how they should vote?  I am absolutely astounded by that!  In the words of the late President Richard Nixon, “I want to make this perfectly clear:” no one has the right or duty to tell anyone how or for whom to vote!  Rather, it is each citizen’s duty to inform him or herself on the issues, reflect on them, and then use his/her own conscience and vote accordingly.  Certainly it is of crucial importance to know where the Church stands on particular issues and why, and the knowledge of such must be part of our discernment before going to the polls.  But no pastor, no priest or deacon, no bishop or even the Pope himself has the right or duty to tell any of us how or for whom to vote!  In fact, it is illegal to do so.

               Some may try; but not here, not on my watch!  So by all means, call the office if you have a question or need clarity on any issue.  Call the headquarters of candidates or check out their websites if you’re not sure how s/he/they stand on any issue.  But please do not ask us how you should vote.  That isn’t our job.  It’s yours!

               And though the words are sticking in my throat, I’ll say them anyway:



(And Sixers, too!)


In His Love,

Fr. Mike