"I would begin by praising your unremitting efforts, in the best traditions of the Church in America, to respond to the ongoing phenomenon of immigration in your country.”
The pope's words come on the heels of a report by the U.S. Census Bureau that showed for the first time there are more minority babies being born that white babies.
Benedict XVI also recognized the Eastern rites efforts to work toward Catholic unity in the United States.
"Throughout our meetings, you and your Brother Bishops have spoken insistently of the importance of preserving, fostering and advancing this gift of Catholic unity as an essential condition for the fulfillment of the Church’s mission in your country.”
The pope also expressed the "deep gratitude” he felt toward female religious of the United States and prayed for the "welfare of society”. These words came after the Vatican recently reprimanded an umbrella group of US nuns for "serious doctrinal problems”.
LINK TO TEXT OF POPE'S FULL SPEECH HERE