Archbishop Wuerl Welcomes Pope at Mass in Washington

April 17, 2008

Holy Father, welcome to Washington!

It is my great joy and privilege to offer an enthusiastic welcome on behalf of all who are gathered for this Eucharistic Liturgy.

With the bishops, priests, deacons, women and men in consecrated life and faithful laity 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 and Vicar of Christ is a blessing for all of us. It is a moment of spiritual renewal as we look to you as you bring to us Christ and his Gospel of love and hope.

Not all that far from here in 1634, the first Catholics arrived in the colonies that later formed the United States. The celebration of Mass at Saint Clement’s Island March 25, 1634 marked the beginning of an unbroken line of continuity in faith and worship that we hope is made manifest in so many ways during your sojourn with us.

From those modest beginnings has come forth a Church truly representative of the Gospel’s message of hope.

The Church that welcomes Your Holiness embraces people from every continent and numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds. All of us at this Mass reflect the breadth of this faith family that includes women and men, young and old.

This Church from all of the United States – as it gathers in worship and seeks to reflect your call to be a people saved in hope – shows a 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 successive waves of immigration going all the way back to the arrival of the first Catholics in this part of the world at Saint Mary’s, Maryland.

We look to you for renewed inspiration to continue the challenge to make all things new in Christ, our hope.

Most Holy Father, welcome!

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]