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Bishop Burbidge leads holy hour for unity ahead of the election

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For an hour, Catholics from around the diocese prayed together for unity among Americans. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge led “Uplift Arlington: One Nation Under God” at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington Oct. 28. The holy hour was livestreamed and viewed on more than 1,100 devices. 

That evening, Bishop Burbidge and some 50 worshippers knelt in front of an illuminated monstrance. The darkness in the church was broken by soft rays of blue and golden uplighting. Musicians Marie Miller and Kenny Kohlhaas performed meditative music. But for much of the hour, there was utter silence in the cavernous cathedral. 

In his homily, Bishop Burbidge reminded listeners it is not politicians but ultimately God who is in control. “That's why we do not fear. No matter the results of the election next week, one thing is unchangeable: the Lord remains king and ruler of our nation,” he said. “No matter what positions elected officials hold, those positions are only theirs for a moment in time. But our nation is always and forever under the protection and guidance of God, in whom we trust.”

He asked Catholics to reflect on oneness. “Like others, I fear that there’s a possibility after the election of growing unrest in our nation. And that's why we have to do our part to be instruments of the Lord's peace and unity,” he said. “Show compassion and kindness to one another. Forgive those who have offended you. Live the truth proudly and boldly but always in love. Respect one another, even those who disagree with our firmly held convictions and beliefs.” 

During the holy hour, Kathy Farrell, a parishioner of St. Philip Church in Falls Church, prayed that “all people will come together and grow closer to God and each other.” Before going into the cathedral, she spoke to her son Ryan Farrell, a diocesan seminarian, who said he and the other men at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., were tuning in to the holy hour. 

On YouTube, commenters on the livestream shared their thanks with Bishop Burbidge for leading the holy hour and voiced their prayers to God. One viewer asked for prayers for a woman sick in the hospital with COVID-19. Another responded, “May she feel God's presence even as the song now says.” 

Cecilia Ayala-De-Muslera, a parishioner of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Falls Church, said she came for one simple reason. “I love God and I need him in my life.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020