Words of Welcome to Our Holy Father Pope Francis

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Holy Father, thank you for coming to Washington.

On behalf of everyone present and in the name of the Church of Washington, it is a great privilege for me to say welcome and thank you.

Bienvenidos y muchas gracias.

Together with the lay faithful and the bishops, priests, deacons, women and men in consecrated life and our neighbors from around the archdiocese and across the country, I greet you in the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Your pastoral visit to the Church in the United States as our beloved Chief Shepherd is a blessing for all of us.

The Church that welcomes Your Holiness embraces people from every continent and numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds. We gather in worship and seek to reflect your call to be missionary disciples. You can see that this Church shows the face reflective of Africa, Central and South America, India, Asia, Europe as well as our own Native Americans and those who trace their families to people who came in waves of immigration over several centuries.

Not far from here in 1634, the first Catholics arrived and began the evangelization effort that we see so wonderfully realized today at the great Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the campus of The Catholic University of America. United in faith we seek always to grow in the joy of the Gospel.

Today Your Holiness has just celebrated the Canonization of Saint Junípero Serra who offers us an example of the tireless effort to share the Gospel as we seek today to enrich our human culture with the great law of love of God and love of neighbor.

All of us at this Mass profess our faith and strive to live it in service and love. We take seriously your call in Laudato si’ to face the challenges of our day and to do so with respect for the dignity of each person, concern for one another, especially the marginalized and poor, and care for the good earth, our common home, God’s gift to all of us now and for generations yet to come.

We look to you for renewed inspiration so that we might truly be evangelizers.

Most Holy Father, welcome and thank you.

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