By this time next week we will all have to cast our ballots for the various elections at the local, state, and federal level, including a vote for the next President of the United States of America (aka POTUS) who will appoint new justices to the Supreme Court of the United States (aka SCOTUS). This year I have read more, listened to more podcasts and YouTube videos, and searched for more information about the presidential candidates and party platforms than ever before. I am comfortable that I have formed my conscience, made my decisions, and know how I will cast my ballot next Tuesday. Enough about me, now for you. First, I urge all of you to vote next Tuesday, and to encourage your spouse, your families, your friends, your coworkers and everyone you know to get out and vote. Secondly, I urge you to cast your vote with an informed conscience, based on review and your understanding of the issues, the platforms, and what is best for our country. Some of you may have heard the statistics that Matthew Kelly cited a few years ago: “… there are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. There are sixty-seven million Catholics in America — that’s at least fifteen million more people than it takes to elect an American president” (emphasis added) – that is power! That is why we all need to vote. In these final days, as you continue to wrestle through the issues and make your decisions who to vote for, I encourage you to avail yourself of the resources that are available. Here are the ones I recommend: The USCCB http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/index.cfm The Catholic Conference of Illinois (includes messages from Bishops Braxton, Barron, Cupich and lots of other great information) http://www.ilcatholic.org/election-2016/ The Priest for Life website (which includes the non-partisan Comparison Piece on the Party Platforms) http://www.politicalresponsibility.com/ This article from America magazine http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/greatness-nation Documents available on our Saints Peter and Paul website (including the Democrat and Republican Platforms) http://ssppcc.org/bishop/ A YouTube video of a homily delivered by a Catholic priest in the Phoenix Diocese in Arizona on October 2, 2016. https://youtu.be/881aDDE5qFY And finally, pray. Pray the Election Prayer that can be found here http://www.priestsforlife.org/novenas/novena.aspx?id=1 That gives you a snapshot of my journey to the election; it helped me, I hope it will help you. God Bless You and God Bless our Country!