WASHINGTON (RNS) — As Julián Castro officially launched his candidacy for president over the past few weeks, he invoked a certain female figure so frequently she might as well have been his running mate.

On Dec. 12, as he declared that he was forming an exploratory committee, Castro, 44, a Texan who served as U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development during President Obama’s second term, stood in front of a painting of Our Lady

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