The following is a Pastoral Letter from Bishop Barbarito to the faith family of the Diocese of Palm Beach wishing all a blessed Fourth of July, and reminding us of the freedoms we enjoy as well as the characteristics that make the United States a great nation.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
On the Fourth of July, we celebrate the birth of our great nation which came into existence recognizing that all people are created equal and are endowed by God with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. At a time when there are so many challenges to these rights from the threat to the very right to life through legalized abortion to that of an inability to freely practice our faith in God, we, as American Catholics, stand united and committed to what our nation was founded to be.
Our great nation, from its very beginning, has also been a home to those from other lands who have come here to live their God given rights. The Statue of Liberty beckons, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." We are aware of the many challenges that present threats to the immigrants presently coming to our country especially through a fractured system of laws that has long been poorly addressed and now calls for more adequate reform to protect the rights of immigrants as well as the security of our nation.
As we celebrate the Fourth of July, we give thanks to God for our nation and pray that we may unite to protect it from laws which disregard the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We unite to welcome the immigrant and stranger to our land, as so many of our ancestors were, in a manner that is generous, protective of all, and keeps families together without separating parents and children as they come. We are a nation under God and we must do all we can to keep it that way.
May the Fourth of July bring many blessings to all as we recognize and protect our freedoms and values for which our great nation was born two hundred forty-two years ago.
With every prayerful wish, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
Bishop of Palm Beach