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US bishops launch novena for Election Day

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CNA Staff, Oct 21, 2020 / 03:00 pm MT (CNA).- The bishops of the United States are encouraging Catholics to pray a novena to help form their consciences ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3.

“For nine consecutive days, Monday, October 26 through Tuesday, Nov. 3, participants will be encouraged to pray one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the day’s intention,” says the USCCB’s webpage for the 2020 Election Novena.

A closing prayer for elected leaders will be offered on day 10, Wednesday, November 4.

The closing prayer asks that “the leaders elected this week be guided by the Holy Spirit as they fulfill their positions.”

Due to the prevalence of mail-in voting this election, it is possible that the results of some elections may not be known for several days.

The USCCB will write a new intention each day of the novena, and a signup link for email reminders is provided on the noevena’s webpage, along with graphics for social media.

None of the daily intentions are partisan in nature, and most are reminders of various facets of Catholic teaching, including a plea for dialogue, a reminder of the importance of the dignity of human life, and a stress on the importance of religious freedom.

The intention for Election Day reads “Today, as we approach the polls, may we understand & embrace the principles of our Faith that should guide our political engagement.”

The USCCB, as well as individual bishops, do not endorse specific candidates for election.

Earlier this year, the U.S. bishops’ conference re-issued its document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” which aims to assist Catholics in deciding for whom to vote.

In a new introductory letter to the document, approved by the bishops in November 2019, reminds Catholics that they are called to “bring the richness of our faith to the public square.”

“We draw from both faith and reason as we seek to affirm the dignity of the human person and the common good of all,” the bishops wrote, saying that “everyone living in this country is called to participate in public life and contribute to the common good.”

“Our approach to contemporary issues is first and foremost rooted in our identity as followers of Christ and as brothers and sisters to all who are made in God’s image,” said the letter.

“For all Catholics, including those seeking public office, our participation in political parties or other groups to which we may belong should be influenced by our faith, not the other way around.”

“Pope Francis has continued to draw attention to important issues such as migration, xenophobia, racism, abortion, global conflict, and care for creation,” wrote the bishops.

“In the United States and around the world, many challenges demand our attention. The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed,” they said.

“At the same time, we cannot dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty and the death penalty.”

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