Faithful Citizenship, Part 1--July 9, 2020 COVID-19 Faith Reflection
Most of the mail I get is junk mail. Flyers from Winn Dixie (I shop at Aldi’s), offers to roof the rectory (no leaks, we’re good), the grand opening of a new dentist office. Personally, I’m waiting a while before going to the dentist.
In early August, I will sort my mail carefully for a particularly large envelope. I will look for the one from Seminole County with my mail-in ballot for the primary election.
In the November general election, the choice for each public office is usually between two candidates, one from the Democratic Party and one from the Republican Party. Too often I wish there were a “none of the above” bubble.
The primary election in August is a different story. I look forward to the primary election where often three or more candidates stand for each office. Usually I can find at least one that looks promising.
What’s more, my vote is more powerful in the primary election than in the general election. According to the Florida Division of Elections, 24% of Florida voters turned out for the 2016 Primary Election while 75% of Florida voters turned out for the 2016 General Election. In 2012, 21% voted in the Primary and 72% in the General Election. In 2008, 18% voted in the Primary and 75% voted in the General Election.
Do you see a pattern? Over three times as many Florida voters turn out for the general election in November than for the August primaries. The Primary Elections do not get nearly as much media attention as General Election, but our votes count so much more. A vote in the Primary Election carries three times the weight of a vote in the General Election.
The Primary Election is August 18 and the voter registration deadline to vote in this primary is Monday, July 20. If you are not registered to vote by July 20, you cannot vote in the primary election. (You have until October 5 to register for the general election.)
Registering to vote is easy. You may register at public libraries, DHSMV drivers license offices, centers for independent living, offices providing public assistance or serving persons with disabilities, armed forces recruiting offices, and supervisor of elections offices. You may also register online.
For Catholics, political participation such as voting is an important obligation. In their statement
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
, the U.S. Catholic bishops remind Catholics about our political responsibility. “In the Catholic tradition,” they write, “responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation” (no. 13). Visit
this evening to read the bishops’ statement, watch videos, and get trusted Catholic guidance on our rights and duties as citizens.
If you have registered to vote, well done! You are fulfilling your obligation to participate in political life. You are flexing the virtue of responsible citizenship.
Here’s a challenge—pass along to a friend how they can register to vote. If they have registered, all is well. If they have not registered, the registration link might be the nudge they need. Simply copy and paste a simple message such as, “You can register to vote by July 20 for the August 18 primary election
. You can find your Florida county voting website at
Our bishops teach that the Catholic motive in politics is love. “God is love, and he desires that we help to build a ‘civilization of love’—one in which all human beings have the freedom and opportunity to experience the love of God and live out that love by making a free gift of themselves to one another” (par. 1).
died on Monday, July 6. He is the father of David Stabler who is on the Nativity parish staff. His funeral arrangements are pending. May he rest in peace.
died on Sunday, July 5. He is the husband of Peggy Blickenstaff, the retired business manager of Nativity. His funeral Mass is Friday, July 10, at 9:30 a.m. at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Deltona and livestream at
I expect to back at Mass in person on Saturday following a voluntary quarantine out of an abundance of caution. Thanks be to God, I am well.
Father Stephen Parkes
, our neighbor pastor at Annunciation, has been appointed bishop of the Diocese of Savannah. His ordination and installation will be at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist on Wednesday, September 23rd, the Feast of Saint Padre Pio. As Bishop-elect Parkes to Savannah takes up the mantle of shepherding the Church of Savannah, please keep him in your prayers. I will miss my brother priest, who was my predecessor at Most Precious Blood parish in Oviedo, but I rejoice in having these years to know him and minister with him here in the Diocese of Orlando.
Sunday Digital Worship Aid
Nativity Longwood .
on Thursday, July 9 at 9:00AM