The rain and the cold did not impede Dolores Mission from welcoming parishioners, bishops and priests, parochial school students, community leaders, Homeboy Industries representatives and media Jan. 12.
Celebrating National Migration Week, Archbishop José H. Gomez, after celebrating Mass, presented a video message from Pope Francis to the immigrant community in the United States.
The message was part of a previously unaired television interview conducted by Noel Díaz, founder of El Sembrador Ministries (ESNE), in Rome. The entire interview will be aired at 9 p.m., Jan. 29 on ESNE TV.
“When Juanito presented himself before Our Lady of Guadalupe, she told him, ‘Dear Juanito, don’t be afraid. Am I not here, I, who am your mother?’” the pope began.
“We are a community that also has a mother and Jesus gave her to us — his mother and our mother — and a community with a mother should feel safe,” he said. “Russian monks from the medieval period or before had a lovely saying … back then they would say, ‘When there is spiritual turbulence, take refuge under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God.’ And this is what I want to tell you, she said it to Juan Diego in his language: ‘Do not be afraid. Am I not here, I, who am your mother.’”
Pope Francis encouraged immigrants in the United States to not be afraid in trying times. And in his characteristic sense of humor added, “The best business we can do with many Christians is to sell them mothballs, so they can put them in their clothes and in their lives. So they won’t be hole-ridden. Because if we’re closed up we will be full of holes. We need to bring forth the message of Jesus. The message of Jesus is not for one to keep to oneself … this message I give and share from my Christian heart,” he said, underscoring “courage, prayer and much tenderness” are what we should share with our neighbor.
Archbishop Gomez said the “beautiful message of hope from our Holy Father reminds us that we are one family of God, that we are all God’s children under the loving protection of our Blessed Mother. He recalls the words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego during a time of fear and uncertainty, words of reassurance to our immigrant brothers and sisters not to be afraid because they are not alone. Like the Blessed Mother of Christ, the Church will always be with them.”