On Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Reaffirms
Church’s Solidarity with Immigrants
WASHINGTON—Today marks the Catholic Church’s annual celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a title ascribed to the Virgin Mary after she appeared to Saint Juan Diego multiple times in 1531. The feast day of December 12 was first established by Pope Benedict XIV in 1754, and Pope John Paul II declared Our Lady of Guadalupe as “Patroness of the Americas” and “Star of the New Evangelization” in 1999. Catholic communities across the United States, Mexico, and elsewhere maintain a strong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is venerated as a symbol of unity in diversity and maternal concern.
Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:
“When we speak about the issue of immigration, we are fundamentally addressing the movement of people—human persons created in the image and likeness of God, each one of them a brother or sister to us all. Unfortunately, this truth is often obscured by political rhetoric, fearmongering, and hyperbole. Our Lady of Guadalupe points us toward a better way, one that ultimately leads to reconciliation.
“The bishops of the United States continue to affirm the natural right to migrate, balanced with the sovereign right of countries to uphold their borders, as well as their obligations to provide humane processes for newcomers.
“We maintain that time, resources, and political will are best spent making structural improvements to our broken immigration system. At a moment when we are witnessing the arrival of greater numbers of families and individuals at our border with Mexico, we call on federal authorities to stand up critical infrastructure to meet their humanitarian needs. Especially during this Advent season, these newcomers are visible signs of Christ among us. Let us meet this moment not with policies of exclusion and indifference but with a spirit of compassion and generosity. We pledge our support and cooperation in meeting these challenges.
“Today, I invite Catholics and all people of faith to pray that through the intersession of Our Lady of Guadalupe we may give comfort to those forced to leave their homes, and may Our Lady be a guide to all those entrusted with the responsibility of leadership.”