Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Thursday we celebrate All Saints Day with Mass at 9:00 am and 7:30 pm in the church. Friday, November 2 is All Souls Day in which we remember our deceased loves ones.  St. Francis of Assisi is a community of people from all over our nation and even the world.  Many of us in Raleigh are at a distance from family and friends and often face the reality of grieving for deceased loved ones from afar.  I invite all who carry the burden of grief and loss to join in prayer at the All Souls Mass November 2 at 7:30 pm as we keep in mind those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.

Last Sunday we had the great fortune to have Fr. Ken Himes, O.F.M., with us to open our Year of Faith parish celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council as well as speak about our Catholic Church’s teaching on Faithful Citizenship.

With the opportunity for early voting in North Carolina, please be sure to cast your ballot with a well formed conscience.

In their document “Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility”, the US Bishops call “Catholics to form their consciences in the light of their Catholic faith and to bring our moral principles to the debate and decisions about candidates and issues.”

I encourage you to rightfully form and vote your conscience on November 6.  The bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote. Our purpose is to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God’s truth. We recognize that the responsibility to make choices in political life rests with each individual in light of a properly formed conscience, and that participation goes well beyond casting a vote in a particular election. (Faithful Citizenship #7)  The Second Vatican Council also speaks to the primacy of conscience in the pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World:  In fidelity to conscience Christians are joined with the rest of people in the search for truth and for the genuine solution to the numerous problems which arise in the life of individuals from social relationships. Hence the more right conscience holds sway, the more persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and strive to be guided by the objective norms of morality. Conscience frequently errs from invincible ignorance without losing its dignity. The same cannot be said for a person who cares but little for truth and goodness or for a conscience which by degrees grows practically sightless as a result of habitual sin. (Gaudium et Spes # 16)

How do we form a right conscience?  It’s not always easy.  The Catholic Catechism offers this guidance:  To this purpose, a person strives to interpret the data of experience and the signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts. (Catholic Catechism # 1788)

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark