Bishop pledges support for anxious immigrants

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Bishop David Zubik offered the following welcome to the faithful Dec. 12 at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass at St. Paul Cathedral:

A very warm welcome to all of you who join in this annual Pittsburgh celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In a very special way, thanks must go to all our Latino faithful. Thank you for your devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. And especially thank you for sharing this beautiful devotion with people of all nationalities in our diocese and in our country.

Joined with our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and the bishops throughout the United States, I offer a sincere welcome to our immigrants. The church in the United States has always opened her doors to immigrants. I especially open the doors of the Church of Pittsburgh to you tonight.

Our diocese began in 1843, and from its beginning has been a church of immigrants. Over the course of the last 173 years, this Church of Pittsburgh has become The Church Alive! because countless immigrants have made it so, with the loving help of Catholic Charities. I myself could only be here because both our church and our country welcomed my grandparents so many years ago.

I share this particular welcome with you tonight because I know that more than a few of you are worried about your future. But be assured the Church of Pittsburgh and I as your bishop support you. Whenever any one of us faces fear, it is most important that in faith we lift our prayers to God. Tonight, and in this holy Mass, we do so through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

As we do so, we pray in thanksgiving for the freedom that we enjoy. We pray especially for that freedom to continue. We pray for our country and our elected leaders that they may develop laws and policies for immigration that are founded on compassion and justice.

It is so important that we now work with our representatives in government. Our Constitution gives us that right and responsibility.

As your bishop, I pledge to continue to share your voice with our representatives in Washington, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate, that they may work with our president in the formation of immigration reform that is both compassionate and just.