BY ISN STAFF | February 16, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. —On the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico, including the U.S.-Mexico border, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), invited Catholics to pray together “as one Church.”
“The world is so often divided by culture, economic situation, politics, and fences. The Pope’s message is that our faith, prayer, and love for Jesus are greater than what may divide us,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “He is asking us to see our brothers and sisters – north and south – as fellow pilgrims journeying toward Christ.”
The full message follows:
A Message to Catholic Faithful of Mexico and the United States Celebrating the Visit of Pope Francis
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
On the joyous occasion of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Visit to our neighboring Church, I extend my prayerful best wishes to the bishops of Mexico and all the faithful. Pope Francis’ own example of missionary discipleship in this season of Lent and Year of Mercy inspires the whole Church in America.
When Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Juarez, Mexico, I will be together with hundreds of Americans gathered along the levee in El Paso. Thousands more will be watching around the United States. It will be a grace filled moment to pray as one Church.
The world is so often divided by culture, economic situation, politics, and fences. The Pope’s message is that our faith, prayer, and love for Jesus are greater than what may divide us. He is asking us to see our brothers and sisters – north and south – as fellow pilgrims journeying toward Christ. We will recall this profound unity and sense of solidarity in a special way when the Pope comes to the border to pray for those who have perished there.
Each of our local churches brings a valuable cultural heritage. Pope Francis has described these as “resources meant to be shared.” The visit is another opportunity for us to learn from and share in this diversity, while being reminded we are one Church in America – whether from north, south or central. Our faith brings us together in the one body of Christ, under the maternal care of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
To my fellow Catholics in the United States, let us unite in prayer with our sisters and brothers in Mexico – especially those most in need of mercy and hope, those suffering most in poverty and fear – and celebrate the great blessing of the Holy Father’s journey to their great nation.