Pope Francis called on immigrants from Mexico and the rest of the world to “not feel discouraged by all the challenges and hardships,” saying they should never feel ashamed of their own traditions.
Addressing the crowd from the lectern President Abraham Lincoln used when he delivered the Gettysburg Address, Pope Francis spoke to America’s Hispanic population: “Thank you for opening the doors. Many of you have emigrated. I greet you with my heart.
“Many of you came to this country at great personal cost, but in the hope of building a new life. Do not feel discouraged by all the challenges and hardships you might face. I ask you not to forget that, like those who came here before you, you bring many gifts to this new nation of yours. Please: do not feel ever ashamed of your traditions.
“Do not forget the lessons you learned from your elders, which can bring an enrichment to life of this American land. You are also called to be responsible citizens. You are called to be responsible citizens and to contribute, like others, with so much resilience before you — to contribute fruitfully to the life of the communities in which you live.
“Do not forget what happened here over two centuries ago. Do not forget the declaration which said all men and women were created equally — to be equal — that governments exist to protect and defend these rights.”
More of the story according to CNN:
Standing before this city’s iconic Independence Hall, Pope Francis gave a ringing endorsement of religious freedom and immigration on Saturday, urging his American hosts to avoid a “superficial quest for unity.”
“In this witness, which frequently encounters powerful resistance,” the Pope said, “you remind American democracy of the ideals for which it was founded, and that society is weakened whenever and wherever injustice prevails.”
Drawing cheers from the large crowd on Independence Mall, where many of the faithful waved flags from countries such as Costa Rica and Mexico, the Argentine-born Francis urged his diverse flock to “never be ashamed of your traditions.”
The Pope has praised our country’s immigrant history during nearly every speech of his week-long visit to the United States, which ends Sunday evening. The issue resonates with him personally, he said Wednesday in Washington, since not only is he Latin American, but his parents immigrated to Argentina.