Pope Francis, the first pontiff from the Americas, said Wednesday that the two American continents are called to be "a land of generosity" where "different peoples come together."
Writing in a message to mark Thursday's feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an apparition of Virgin Mary who is recognized by the church as the patroness of the Americas, Francis said Mary gives a "prophecy of an embrace."
"Mary’s embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be," the pope writes. "A land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and the marginalized, in every age."
"A land of generosity," he writes. "That is the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and it is also my message, the message of the Church. I ask all the people of the Americas to open wide their arms, like the Virgin, with love and tenderness."