Our Catholic ancestors often migrated to this country with little but hope. Some came escaping communism, others fascism, others hunger, others political violence and still others religious persecution. From the earliest wave of Catholic immigrants to the Catholic migrants still coming to this land, the goal has been a life in which their children wouldn’t want for food, a life in which their children weren’t being forced to worship in secret, a life in which their children could flourish.

On Jan. 20, something amazing happened. You may disagree with the politics of the new president — gone are the days of Catholic voting blocks, after all. Yet, we can all hold some pride in seeing a Catholic person, of Irish decent, holding the most powerful office in the United States of America. Take a look around. Six of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, of varying ethnic and cultural backgrounds, are also Catholic. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is the daughter of Italian Catholic immigrants.

When my ancestors left Scotland, not only could they not own land or hold political office, they couldn’t even practice their Catholic faith in public. Great Britain, which to this day operates under a class system, has still never had a Catholic prime minister. Tony Blair converted to the faith only after leaving office. How many of our ancestors faced similar levels of persecution?

I don’t know if my Scottish Catholic great-great grandfather would like a President Biden. But considering he came to this country to work in mines alongside many Irish immigrants, I’d be willing to bet that he’d be shocked that the great-great grandchild of someone like him could hold the highest office in the country. What a wonderful country that we have, in which people like us can raise our children to dream, to work hard and to succeed.

I hope you will all join me in praying first for the success of our great nation and second for the many Catholics representing us in government to lead with our shared Catholic values.