WASHINGTON — Throughout the United States, Catholics are gathering in prayer on Nov. 6 to ask for God’s blessing upon the country and its citizens as they cast their ballots.
In response to popular request, Ave Maria University in southwest Florida is hosting 24-hour adoration for both students and members of the local community on Election Day.
“We’re expecting a full house,” said Jesuit Father Robert McTeigue, director of campus ministry, adding that the students have a clear understanding of what is at stake in this election.
“They’re very much involved,” he said.
Members of the community gathered for a Holy Hour on the evening of Nov. 5, followed by 24 hours of adoration, along with Benediction and the recitation of the Rosary.
Nov. 6 marks the end of a heated presidential race that polls indicate will come down to the wire. In many dioceses — including those in key battleground states — parishes, college communities and individuals have rallied together to pray for the nation’s future as the next leaders of the country are chosen.
A special Election Day adoration event is being held at Blessed Sacrament parish in Arlington, Va., while St. Mary's Visitation parish in Milwaukee held a Holy Hour for the Nation on the night before the election, asking for God's blessing on the country in an evening of prayer, Eucharistic adoration and Benediction.
In the Archdiocese of Denver, the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is offering Eucharistic adoration on both the morning and the evening of Election Day.
At Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, a nine-day novena prayer released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been prayed before all daily and Sunday Masses leading up to the election, said Tom Sofio, who handles public relations for the university.
The university’s Students for Life group has also held a 54-day Rosary novena leading up to Election Day, gathering to pray every evening at the outdoor Marian grotto on campus.
Graduate student Rob Fernandez has also worked to start a prayer initiative among the university community by calling for fasting and prayer each Tuesday from Sept. 4 through Nov. 6. The nine-week event drew more than 400 participants on Facebook. Benedictine College in Kansas also held a fasting and prayer event for the month before the election.
In Maryland, which is one of four states where voters will be faced with ballot measures on same-sex “marriage,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore has been stressing the importance of voting with a well-formed Catholic conscience, according to an archdiocesan spokesman.
The archbishop is also calling on Catholics to attend Mass on Nov. 6 and to pray for the outcome of the election.