Ballot box not the end but the beginning of our participation
Since this issue is four days before the Nov. 8 General Election, some commentary on that key component of our democratic process might be expected.
But you won’t find it here. Archbishop George J. Lucas, Tom Venzor of the Nebraska Catholic Conference and Jesuit Father William J. Byron, a Catholic News Service columnist, all address election-related issues in this issue, as do columnist Christina Capecchi and Omar Gutierrez, manager of the office of missions and justice.
As several of the writers note, U.S. voters are tired of the national campaign, frustrated by the lack of discussions on the issues and disappointed with our choices, specifically in the race for the White House. And that negative attitude has – to use an overused political phrase – trickled down to the state and local races.
At this point, little can be done to really change those feelings.
Come Nov. 9, many people are going to be disappointed, but that’s where the negativity needs to end. It’s not a time to disengage from the process, but to engage or re-engage.
U.S. bishops provided guidelines on forming our consciences for voting, but our responsibilities as U.S. citizens – as Catholic Christians – don’t end as soon as we vote. In fact, that’s just the beginning. Because we vote – even if we’re holding our noses as we do it – we have a stake in the game.
We need to continue to work for issues important to us. We need to work with the people who are elected to change their minds or perhaps their hearts on some issues. And we need to be involved in looking for candidates for future elections, candidates who understand that governing isn’t about confrontation, but compromise, negotiation and making tough decisions – sometimes right, sometimes wrong.
Taking our place in the political system and standing up for the values rooted in our faith that shape our consciences isn’t an Election Day assignment. It’s a full-time job. And on Nov. 9, it will be time to go to work.
A NEW BEGINNING
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy – a Year of Mercy – has been on the calendar for almost a year, starting with the official beginning in Rome Dec. 8 of last year, and the opening of the door of mercy at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha five days later.
Since that time, the church used liturgies, workshops, all sorts of media, speakers and more to bring the message of mercy – receiving God’s mercy and sharing that mercy – to Catholics around the world.
While the jubilee year ends Nov. 20 at a Mass in Rome, it’s really just the beginning … a new beginning. Mercy isn’t just written on the calendar. It’s written in our hearts.
The Jubilee of Mercy served as a reminder of that blessing.
COLORS OF CHRISTMAS
Art and food are the focus again this year in the sixth annual Colors of Christmas art contest organized through the Catholic Voice.
For the second year, the contest not only will honor young artists’ creativity, but help feed the poor. Each entry submitted by students will mean a can of food donated by our food sponsor, Woodhouse Auto Family.
Last year’s 2,500-plus entries produced more than 100 cases of food for pantries in Omaha. This year the food will go to pantries in Columbus, Norfolk and Walthill (see the story on Page 7).
Our thanks to Woodhouse, as well as Catholic Mutual Group of Omaha, the underwriter sponsor, and the Cosgrave Company, Divine Truth Christian Store, Gloria Deo and Parables, our participating sponsors.
Deacon Randy Grosse is editor and general manager of the Catholic Voice. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.