Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio said this week the “future of the Church in the United States is the Hispanic community,” as more than 40 percent of Catholics in the country are Latinos.

Archbishop Gomez said he was “pleasantly surprised that Pope Benedict XVI included a paragraph in Spanish in the message he sent ahead of his visit to the United States,” and said he hoped the Pontiff would mention the issue of immigration during his stay in Washington and New York.

“I don’t know what he is going to say, I believe the Pope will call us to hope, that the process we are going through regarding immigration is transitory, it will take time but it will happen, because the United States is a country where human rights are respected and is a country of immigration that will obviously seek a solution,” the archbishop said in a interview with

He recalled that “during the last 50 years, modern society has moved away from God,” and in response “the Pope wants us not to forget our roots,” that “God wants to be present among us, and if we hear the voice of God and we follow the person and teachings of Jesus, we will the find peace and happiness that we are all seeking.”

After noting that the Pope’s message of April 8 emphasized that “the message of the Catholic Church is for all people of good will, even for non-believers,” Archbishop Gomez said he hopes “the Pope will call us to have a healthy pride of being Catholics and of contributing to the society in which we live with the truths of the Catholic faith.”

Likewise, the archbishop said that although some people have the impression that Benedict XVI “is a closed-minded, intellectual man who cannot relate to people,” he believes that “the visit of the Pope will hope convey a more authentic vision of his personality and his mannerism,” as “he is a man who looks into your eyes, listens to you and you feel you are connected to him; he is very kind, very simple.”

John Paul II “was an extrovert with great energy; he was elected at the age of 58.” On the other hand, Benedict XVI has a personality that “is more reserved, he is an intellectual who has been a university professor his entire life and is now turning 81.  He needs to be more reserved in order to stay healthy,” the archbishop said.