Bishop Richard Pates made the following remarks at the opening of the Thomas More Society's nativity scene at the Iowa State Capitol on Monday morning, December 12. Governor Terry Branstad was also on hand for the event, where he thanked the crowd for attending and make remarks.
"We come today at the invitation of the Thomas More Society not so much to impose or intrude on others in these quarters. Rather as Christians we wish to introduce ourselves to an ever greater degree to those with whom we share this public space.
"For us, this beautiful scene of the Savior represents that we are people of peace, we are committed to the pursuit of truth and justice seeking always to exercise mercy and good will. We stand together with all who seek the common good and the free exercise of human rights.
"In our tradition this scene will move on to other episodes in the life of the Christ. It will soon evolve into his flight with his parents into Egypt as a refugee and immigrant. This particular event calls us, his followers, to exercise compassion and be merciful to all those who today are fleeing intolerable situations solely to pursue a normal way of life for their families.
"It is our desire that we can grow in mutuality – in fruitful encounter and relationship as Pope Francis encourages, to engender hope and tranquility for all of our brothers and sisters in the human family.