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Bishop's Column: Fortified With a Refreshed Understanding

Posted on September 03, 2020 in: Reflections

Bishop's Column: Fortified With a Refreshed Understanding

September 2020 Four County Catholic

Fortified With a Refreshed Understanding


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

September marks the start of another school year. Since the beginning of this pandemic I have witnessed the unwavering dedication of our faculty and staff members and the compassionate support from the families in our communities as we quickly adapted to new methods of instructional delivery. Our principals are prepared to ensure strict compliance with the guidance and mandates provided by Federal, State, and Diocesan agencies to facilitate in-classroom instruction. Together, we will continue to provide a quality Catholic education while keeping our students and faculty safe.

It is important to note that this Fall the students will not be the only ones with homework assignments. Those of us who take part in the democratic process of voting will, as faithful citizens, be called to prepare ourselves to choose a direction and select those who will lead us.

This is a responsibility that we do not take lightly.

Respect for life and maintaining the dignity of life through its entire earthly journey is one of the essential callings of our beliefs. At the core, it defines our Catholic faith and who we are –– sons and daughters of a loving God.

We express the sanctity of life starting with the vulnerable unborn, by participating in activities such as the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil which begins with a Mass on September 22nd and continues with the monthly Pro-Life Masses.

We further demonstrate respect for life by reaching out to help our brothers and sisters in need – the poor and disadvantaged among us. You do this by supporting the work of our ministries, especially Catholic Charities, Saint Vincent dePaul Middletown and Saint Vincent dePaul in Norwich. Thank you to those who have stepped forward during the last six months with their prayers and donations.

The pandemic is significantly affecting many people. We have to be supportive of others and responsible in our actions to prevent the spread of this disease. These trying times call us, as Catholics, to live our faith with courage and respect for all.

As conscientious citizens there are many significant issues to be weighed. Topics such as protecting religious freedom, lawful reform of the immigration system, rejection of physician assisted suicide, peaceful resolutions to conflict, and any number of areas of concern that impact the sacred value and dignity of the marginalized and weakest among us, can be considered.

This is our homework assignment, yours and mine, as we approach Election Day. Knowing what we, as individuals, think about these questions is crucial.

You are not alone in your search for answers. Guidance can be found in the document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, a link of which can be found on our diocesan website. Developed as a nonpartisan guide by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, it outlines the Gospel principles which faithful Catholics can utilize to help form their consciences. As with any important decision that we are called to make, it would be wise to bring it to the Lord in prayer.

It is my hope that the political noise, which will undoubtedly grow louder, will not dissuade you from the political process. I also pray that you will not give in to the loudest voices, but rather listen to your own inner voice as an informed and faithful Catholic citizen.

Let us ask for God’s intervention to counter the plague of violence that has become so prevalent. We earnestly pray that peace might be restored to this land that we love, this nation that we cherish, so that all people may live in harmony.

Fortified with a refreshed understanding of the principles of our faith and surrounded by the love of our merciful Lord, may you see beyond the influence of political ads and media personalities, and instead be prepared to unequivocally vote your conscience.

Sincerely yours in the unwavering peace of Christ, 

Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich


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