.- A public Mass for the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated on noon Saturday at Federal Plaza in Chicago. Co-sponsored by the Thomas More Society, it will bring together Catholic pro-life and peace and justice groups.
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago John R. Manz will celebrate the Mass in English and Spanish. Musicians from the St. Agnes of Bohemia ensemble, directed by Jorge Velazco, will provide music.
The Mass follows what the Thomas More Society (TMS) says is Chicago and federal officials’ increased recognition of private citizens’ constitutional guarantees of proclaiming their religious faith in the public square.
"If you can set up your soapbox and spout your politics on Federal Plaza, then there is no reason why you should not be permitted equally to proclaim your religious faith," said TMS president Tom Brejcha. “Far from offending any mandate for separation of church and state, such public religious ceremonies reflect that it is rather those who would purge all religious expression from the nation's public arena who flout the First Amendment, which explicitly protects both free exercise of religion and free speech.”
He reported that at last year’s Mass there was a “great turnout” despite sub-freezing temperatures.
“It was such a moving event that our Thomas More Society decided to spearhead and sponsor it again,” he explained.
"It's wonderful to see Christians come together to proclaim their faith and celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe,” Brejcha continued.
He voiced hope that others will proclaim their religious values in the nation’s public squares and he noted that the TMS offers pro bono legal help to those with such purposes.
The Mass is also co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Hispanic Catholics, its Respect Life Office and its Office for Divine Worship.
Federal Plaza is at the intersection of Adams and Dearborn in Chicago’s Loop.