Archbishop of Goa urges to skip pilgrimage, vote for candidates with 'secular' credentials

Panaji, Apr 17 (IANS): Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao, has appealed to the people to refrain from going on pilgrimage during Lok Sabha voting day and cast their vote for persons with secular credentials.

In a circular issued by Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao, he has said "Indeed, the growth of a nation is dependent on its citizens' active participation and responsible behaviour."

The Church's obligation to participate in nation-building and in shaping the moral character of society is a requirement of our faith, it is an all-important part of the mission we have received from Jesus Christ. It is in this spirit that all eligible Catholic voters need to exercise their franchise on May 7, 2024, casting their vote for persons with secular credentials, who are truly committed to working for the good of all the people and upholding the values enshrined in our Constitution, he said.

"In the light of this teaching of the Church, it is clear that Catholics moving out with family and friends on a holiday or even going on a pilgrimage on election day, thereby abstaining from the responsibility of participating in the voting process on May 7, would be not only doing a disservice to the nation, but failing seriously in their important civic responsibility," he said.

"It is known that there is a regular train from Goa to Velankanni every Monday. I earnestly appeal to our Catholics to refrain from taking that train journey on Monday, (6th May 2024) and, instead, to book their trip for any other Monday. In case a booking has already been made, it is certainly worth losing some money by way of cancellation charges for the sake of the greater good and the sacred duty of exercising one's franchise on Election Day and thus being positively responsible towards the greater good of the nation," Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao further said.

He has requested Parish Priests, Chaplains and Superiors of Religious Houses in Goa to organise special prayer services on May 3, and May 5, 2024, for the success of the elections.


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