Fr. Kino is an example, Reyes said, for how he treated the people he encountered, who were all from completely different cultures than himself.
"He didn't just come preaching, he came and he actually brought a flourishing of everything human: social, political, the economic, all these things grow," Reyes pointed out. "The mission of Christ is a mission of the renewal of everything human, it's setting the world right."
"And so, Kino, and many of his comrades, and many of the other first missionaries of the continent, they're models of bringing the whole of reality under the Lordship of Christ, into human flourishing."
Though America is a very different place from what it was in Fr. Kino's time, there are many good lessons we can learn from him and from other missionaries, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of the Archdiocese of Denver told CNA.
"I think what you really need to look at are the virtues that they had, such as perseverance, their deep faith, their willingness to come out of themselves, and to really serve whoever they were called to serve at that time," he said.
"But at the heart of all of them is humility" and dependence on God.
"That is something that each one of them did, in their own time in history, was have that very deep knowledge and awareness of God's love for them," Archbishop Aquila said, "of being created in his image and likeness and that it was pure gift and then living that out."
Another witness to mercy in the U.S. is Julia Greeley, a woman born into slavery in the mid-1800s.
While enslaved, she received brutal treatment, including the destruction of her right eye when the tip of a slave master's whip hit her while he was beating Greeley's mother.
Freed through Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, she was brought from Missouri to Denver, CO by the wealthy family she worked for, eventually converting to Catholicism.
Throughout her life, though very poor herself, Greeley would always collect food and clothing for poor families around her, including many white families. Sensitive to their embarrassment, she would often deliver the items at night, using a red wagon.
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A proper understanding of mercy, said Archbishop Aquila, is probably the greatest challenge to evangelization in the U.S.
There is either a permissiveness that says someone doesn't have anything to repent of or change in his or her life, which condones sin and evil. "Or the other one is to be too harsh," he said, "which is to say that you're beyond mercy."
"And so it causes confusion – it's not the mercy of the Father, it's not the mercy of Jesus."
For Archbishop Aquila, the way to achieve unity as Christians in America is found in Christ. "That no matter where I go, I'm at home, because I know Christ is with me and I know that I'm serving Christ."
No matter where we go, when we share the faith with someone, "whether they're poor, whether they're rich, whether they're homeless, whether they're sick, whether they're suffering," we should see the face of Christ in them, he said.
"And because of that, we see that we truly are brothers and sisters. And yes, our history is different, our cultures can be different, and very rich and beautiful, in many ways, in terms of the difference in the cultures, but also, there's that unity there."