Pray before voting – Bishop

Manila, Philippines -- What should voters do before going to their assigned polling precinct on May 13?

Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, said: Attend Mass.

"On May 13, the feast of the Our Lady of Fatima, I ask you to attend Mass in your parishes before you go to the polling places," he said in his pastoral letter entitled "Keep the Fire on the Altar Burning".

"I ask every parish priest to open his parish church so that people can visit the Blessed Sacrament and ask for inspiration, guidance and grace before they cast their votes," said Baylon.

He also urged the Catholic faithful to inflame their vote with "FIRE" which stands for Free, Informed, Renewed and Evangelized.

Baylon said that a Catholic vote that is free is not influenced by money and not coerced by fear while informed means it knows how to discern good from evil.

A Catholic vote, he said, should also be renewed because every ballot cast is a potent source for the renewal of the society while evangelized means proclaiming the Gospel by standing for the crucial issues of life and justice on behalf of the unborn and the importance of the family, the dignity of the poor and the future of the young.

"In this Year of Faith, let us confess our Christian faith in the polling precincts. Let our faith as Catholics make its mark in the ballots," said Baylon.

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