Catholics across the country are celebrating the selection of Pope Francis as TIME Person of the Year. Francis's selection is a great public confirmation of what we already know: the pope's humble leadership of the Catholic Church is changing the world. He is a man who is driven by a love for Jesus Christ and his people, especially the poorest and most marginalized among us.

We give thanks to TIME for recognizing how Americans and the entire world support Pope Francis and the way he speaks to our moral consciences. We relish in this opportunity to once again speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the public square. We pray that Francis's leadership and proclamation of God's love continually change the hearts and minds of this nation so that we can work together to overcome our collective challenges and be a society marked more fully by justice, peace, love and mercy.

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