Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in one of Connecticut’s largest news dailies. He holds an MS degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
With only hours left to go during the national elections, people are continuing to pray about the outcome, or they have been turning in a major way to prayer from Election Eve and before..
Let’s look at a few and join them at least in spirit with our prayers for the intentions right now. There is still much time let to pray.
In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Penn., Bishop David Zubik has called for Eucharistic adoration throughout the diocese for today, as in the election “our nation faces the critical task of choosing the next President of the United States and many other offices.”
Both St. John Paul II chapel in the Pastoral Center and the Domenec Hall chapel Seminary will have Eucharistic Adoration Monday until 3:30 pm, when it ends with Benediction.
In the Pittsburgh diocese Holy Redeemer Church in Ellwood City will be hold this Eucharist Holy Hour on Tuesday, Nov. 8, the day of the election. Father Mark Thomas, the pastor, explained that Tuesdays are the parish’s normal holy hour days where they pray for various intentions — November for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, May and October the Rosary.
Father Thomas said, “Tuesday we will specially pray for the elections, for peace in our country, and unification in our nation that we can truly be one nation under God.”
In Coon Rapids, Minn., The Church of the Epiphany is holding a 2016 Election Prayer Vigil with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament starting at 10:00 p.m. on Monday night and concluding at 8:00 am Tuesday Morning with Holy Mass.
Does a church in your area have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament today, Monday, Election Eve? Try to make it there for even a few minutes to pray about this election. The Lord is anxious to hear our prayers for his help and so is our Blessed Mother for her help.
In the Diocese of Bismarck, N.D., the director of communications Sonia Mullally noted that during our recent three-day diocesan Eucharistic Conference called THIRST 2016, the novena In Prayerful Preparation for the Election promoted by the Knights of Columbus was encouraged.
“Bishop [David] Kagan gave his approval to have the novena announced from the podium at the event,” she said, “and asked people to partake in the novena for the election if they so choose.”
St. John the Beloved Catholic Church in McLean, Va., has also been promoting this novena at their parish. Father Christopher Pollard, pastor
Although the In Prayerful Preparation for the Election novena ends today, Monday Nov. 7, there is still time to join in even if for only the last day of it. Any and every prayer at this time can have untold effects as we storm heaven. You can find the novena here.
Holy Hour in Holy Land
Scott Scaria is leading a pilgrimage of 98 people in the Holy Land at this time. Scaria spoke to me from the Holy Land about why he and the other pilgrims wanted to have a holy hour on Monday for our country and the election.
“The election is really very important, and we want the right person to be elected [considering] all the babies being killed,” he said. “So we are asking Our Lady of America to intercede with Jesus for us. It will be a great blessing to have a Holy Hour for all the people [in America] in the Holy Land.”
The Holy Hour is being held at Good Shepherd Church in Jericho.
“The Holy hour asking the Lord to bring the right person as our next president,” Scaria again emphasized. “We are asking Blessed Mother to intercede for America. We want to do this on the eve of the Election Day.”
Many of the pilgrims are from the Oakland, Calif., diocese, and one of the three priests accompanying the pilgrims is Father Neal Clemens, the Oakland diocesan vocation director. The other two are Father Van Binh from the Oakland diocese and Father John from the Hartford. Conn., area.
Father Clemens told me that he and the pilgrims will be “praying for good discernment for all Americans and that they vote in a godly way and not for reasons that are contrary to good morals.”
“Here in the land of Christ, it feels very special to have a holy hour for our own country that has been turning away from Christ in different ways, with different politicians not behaving as Catholics or saying, ‘I’m a Catholic but…’”
Father Clemens sees that being in the Holy Land brings another perspective to the situation.
“It’s so good to be away from it all — our hearts and minds and ears being assaulted by all the rhetoric in the media about the election and candidates. We’re in a very deep spiritual place being here in the Holy Land. It elevates our hearts and renews our hope for our own country.”
He’s been telling people looking for a good voting guide to look at the Ten Commandments. “How about ‘Thou shalt not kill? How about that one! Where are our values at? Where they should not be at? God works through it all.”
Father Clemens and well as Father Binh both served as Air Force chaplains.
“I served this country very proudly and I believe in the goodness of the people,” Father Clemens said. At the same time he reminded that this is going to be “one of the most difficult elections in the life of most people. We haven’t been down this path before.”
What were the other pilgrims’ reactions when they were asked if they’d like to have a Holy Hour in the Holy Land for their country the day before the election at this most critical juncture?
Father Clemens described their “enthusiasm” as all of them immediately said, “Yes! We want to pray. This is what we can do for our country right now — pray for them here.”
Father Binh will lead the Holy Hour with the other two priests assisting.
Early Start, Still Praying Today
Prayer continuing today began early, too, at Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla. The election intentions were including last Friday evening during the school’s regular First Friday Holy Hour.
“It’s for both the university and the town here, praying specifically for the election,” Scott King, director of mission outreach at Ave Maria, said.
King explained that the school also printed a couple thousand “Pro-Life Prayers at Election Time” and handed them out to all university students.
“Our households do nightly Rosary Walks on campus,” King added, “and we asked all our household leaders to offer those Rosary Walks for our election.” You can be sure the students will be continuing the Rosary Walk for that intention Monday night.
Take a walk and pray a Rosary for this intention like the Ave Maria example.
Join Knights This Night
Days ago Supreme Knight Carl Anderson gave a major reminder not only for Knights but for every American Catholic and Christian on what we must realize on this Election Day.
Who better to quote than St. John Paul II, as Anderson did, referring to John Paul the Great’s exhortation on the mission of the Catholic laity, Christifideles Laici, where he laid out in plain language the reason for primacy of the right to life: “Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination (38).”
The Anderson pointed out St. John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae where he “stated with maximum clarity the definitive teaching” of the Catholic Church: “In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it’ (73).”
Anderson also added some strong words of his own about how it’s not possible to build a civilization of life and love under current conditions “when Catholic voters elect public officials who promote abortion, which in the United States alone has resulted in nearly 60 million deaths since 1973…Legalized abortion in the United States has become a form of killing on such a massive scale that no other political issue outweighs its human devastation.”
From Washington's Inaugural Address
Our first President, George Washington, had this to say on April 30, 1789, during his Inaugural Address:
“[T]here is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness…we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained…”
Washington’s Farewell Address Warning
In his Farewell Address on Sept., 19, 1796, Washington cautioned:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Do Our Part
Today, pray about this election. If there is a church in your area open, go there and pray. Can’t get there? Join in praying from your home, or wherever. Even in the supermarket one.
Join you voice in praying the simple prayer for the last day of this major novena. Pray a Rosary too. Pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, a Glory Be. Pray something. But PRAY.
* * * * * * *
Prayer to Mary, the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States
Most Holy Trinity: Our Father in Heaven,
who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters;
Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as your Spouse;
God the Son, who chose Mary as your Mother,
in union with Mary we adore your majesty
and acknowledge your supreme, eternal dominion
Most Holy Trinity,
we put the United States of America
into the hands of Mary Immaculate
in order that she may present the country to you.
Through her we wish to thank you
for the great resources of this land
and for the freedom which has been its heritage.
Through the intercession of Mary,
have mercy on the Catholic Church in America.
Grant us peace. Have mercy on our president
and on all the officers of our government.
Grant us a fruitful economy,
born of justice and charity.
Have mercy on capital and industry and labor.
Protect the family life of the nation.
Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations.
Through the intercession of our Mother,
have mercy on the sick, the tempted, sinners
– on all who are in need.
Mary, Immaculate Virgin, our Mother,
Patroness of our land, we praise you
and honor you and give ourselves to you.
Protect us from every harm. Pray for us,
that acting always according to your will
and the will of your divine Son,
we may live and die pleasing to God. Amen.