Bishop at Election Mass: ‘Without God, a nation has no soul’

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PROVIDENCE — On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin celebrated a Mass for Peace and Reconciliation in our Nation, at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul. More than 150 gathered at the noon Mass to turn to prayer, asking God to grant to the nation moral virtue as well as gifts of peace, harmony and reconciliation.

Wearing her “I voted” sticker, Diane Cardillo felt called to attend the Mass to pray for the country, regardless of the outcome of the election.

“We need to pray for our government no matter who wins today,” she said. “We need to pray that there will be peace, dignity and respect for our nation. I thought that the Mass was beautiful.”

After more than a year-and-a-half, the often tense and divisive presidential campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has come to a close. As of press time Tuesday, the election results had not been announced.

Regardless of the winner of the election, Bishop Tobin shared that his concern will still be the great deal of division, anxiety and fear in the country and in the state. He explained that concern was the impetus of the Election Day Mass.

“We can come together to pray for healing, peace and harmony, gifts that ultimately only God can give us,” he said.

During his homily, the bishop asked how the nation became filled with so much anger and division and confusion.

“It’s because, as a nation we have lost our bearings and that is because we removed God from our public life,” he shared. “More often than not, in our society and in our culture, God is seen as a distraction, as a nuisance. It strikes me that removing God from public life and society, that we have lost our North Star. As a nation we are wandering about without any moral virtue. The heart of our nation is restless and indeed it will not rest until it rests in God.”

History has affirmed the relevance and importance of God in the life of the nation, the bishop said, adding that the country’s founding fathers certainly spoke about their reliance of God.

“They recognized how important God would be in the life and growth of the nation,” explained Bishop Tobin. “Throughout our history, from the founding of our country, religious faith has placed a major role in our culture and in our society. The truth is, without God, a nation has no soul and I think that is what we are experiencing today and what has especially manifested during this campaign.”

Along with her daughter, and grandson who served at the Mass, Patricia McWilliams came to the service to offer a prayer for the country.

“I prayed for the protection and safety of our country and that people will vote with their conscience today,” she said.

Bishop Tobin asked God for his blessing upon the nation and for the gifts of healing, harmony and peace.

“We come to pray for our leaders, whoever we have chosen, that all of our leaders be inspired by God and promote the common good with concern and respect for human life and human dignity above all,” he said. “Regardless of the outcome of the election, as people of faith, and as Christians and as Catholics we should live in hope and confidence. That is the gift that our faith gives us.”