A 12-meter-tall sculpture of the Virgin Mary will give a message of "welcome and solidarity" to families and immigrants residing between Mexico and the United States, the church in which the work will be installed today announced.
The sculpture, which emulates the Statue of Liberty, will be located from March 2019 at the top of the Church of Monte Carmelo, south of San Diego (California) and a few kilometers from the port of entry of San Ysidro, the world's busiest and every year receives thousands of families seeking refuge in the United States.
The monument will be illuminated at night, so that the migrants see "in that light there is a hope," said José Luis Medina, the deacon of the church, to Efe.
"They are going to ask that this light really shine, both in our communities and in the Government," he added.
The work "Welcome to the Stranger," by local artist Jim Bliesner, portrays the Virgin Mary holding a torch and wearing a steel tunic, which symbolizes "the strength and struggle of the experiences of immigrants," according to the church.
"With this sculpture we can remember those who have suffered and offer hope for those who will follow them," the sculptor said in a statement.
Robert McElroy, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, highlighted the symbolism of this work, which reminds us in passing that the United States "is a country of immigrants."
"It is a recognition of the men, women, children and families who have come from Latin America and have built the local Hispanic community," the bishop said.
During the announcement ceremony held this Friday, several parishioners placed ribbons on a church fence with the names of relatives or acquaintances who have been affected by immigration laws.
This project has already received a fund consisting of one million dollars from the California Endowment, and is expected to receive one million more through donations, detailed the San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP), a non-profit organization behind this initiative.