The new provisional government in France decided to establish a constituent assembly which would govern the new Republic of France. It was decided that the members would be elected by a universal vote in which all the men of France were invited to vote. For the first time all men, no matter how poor and insignificant, would be able to participate in a privilege that had only been for the wealthy privileged class before.

Bishop Eugene wrote a pastoral letter to the people of Marseilles stressing their responsibility to vote – but that they had to ask for God’s guidance in the process.

In the midst of the grave preoccupations that trouble our minds, the Christian today feels the need for heaven’s assistance to the fullest. In the hearts of religious men and women, there is an urgent call to Divine Providence, which makes human advice fruitful or ineffective, which brings into being and brings to completion all events, the most vast and the smallest, the most probable and the most unforeseen.

Certainly, there has never been a more solemn occasion to invoke the Almighty’s help with greater fervor. Our nation’s destiny is in our own hands, but “God holds us in his” (Ps 30-31,16). How can we fail to beg him to support us, to guide us, to ensure that the great and difficult work that is about to take place succeeds for the good of all?

Pastoral letter from the Bishop of Marseilles, on the occasion of the general elections and the forthcoming opening of the National Assembly, March 20, 1848


“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for rulers and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and acceptable before God our Savior” (I Timothy 12:1-3)

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Lay Oblate says:

    Eugene could have been writing about the state of the world in 2024. “Certainly, there has never been a more solemn occasion to invoke the Almighty’s help with greater fervor.”

    I think of the recent Synod held in October of 2023 – in Rome, and in which there were the Bishops and Cardinals, men and women – most of whom returned to their countries and homes that were not quite so collegial as those they had shared with during the Synod. Small but powerful steps in the ongoing journey of the Church and the People of God.

    In the midst of some who would wipe out entire cultures and countries, there are those who like Timothy, Eugene and those whom we walk with in 2024 – praying and working in such a way that invites us all to lead peaceful lives in all godliness and dignity.

    I find myself looking at the small crucifix before me which resides between my computer screen and my laptop. My eyes then drift to the logo of the 37th General Chapter. – of how we can walk together as pilgrims of hope in communion…

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