DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS CELEBRATIONS RETURN TO CALVARY CEMETERY IN EAST L.A. AND SANTA CLARA CEMETERY IN OXNARD
–Archbishop Gomez will Celebrate Mass at Calvary Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 4; special performances include Mexican Regional singer Helen Ochoa in East LA and America’s Got Talent semifinalist Alondra Santos in Oxnard–
The Catholic Cemeteries and Mortuaries of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be hosting Día de Los Muertos celebrations in Oxnard on Saturday, October 28, and East L.A. on Saturday, November 4. The events commemorate All Souls Day in rich Catholic tradition with indigenous roots to celebrate the eternal life of our departed loved ones with music, dance, prayer and traditional ofrendas (altars).
Both celebrations are free, open to the public and fun for the entire family. Events will feature a presentation about the meaning and significance of the Día de los Muertos, blessing of traditional altars in honor of the faithful departed, folkloric dances, Mariachi concert, and activities for children, including crafts and calavera (skull) face painting. Sacred art specialist Lalo Garcia and local artists will exhibit art pieces.
Mexican Regional singer Helen Ochoa (in East LA) and America’s Got Talent semifinalist Alondra Santos (in Oxnard) will perform at the celebrations offering a unique opportunity for families to celebrate a Catholic tradition that unites faith, prayer and cultural heritage.
The public is encouraged to build their own altars for a deceased loved one or in honor of a group – those who died due to recent natural disasters, victims of violence, military veterans, or injustice in the U.S. or abroad. All are invited to participate in a massive community altar, built by the local Oaxacan community, by bringing a copy of a photo of their departed loved ones for placement on the altar.
“Over the past four years we have been grateful to those families who have participated in sharing their stories with us and the community. It was evident from our first experience that these events are both comforting and enjoyable to all that attend,” said Brian McMahon, director of administrative services of the Catholic Cemeteries Department. “These cultural celebrations allow our patrons to celebrate the lives of their loved ones in a very unique and special way. It is our hope that in the coming years we will host these events in all five pastoral regions of the Archdiocese.”
The celebration on October 28 at Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard (2370 N. H St., 93036) will begin at noon with a Mass featuring the pilgrim images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and San Juan Diego, which will be available for veneration after the Mass. The cultural celebration will follow.
The event on November 4 at Calvary Cemetery in East L.A. (4201 Whittier Boulevard, 90023) will begin with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez at noon, followed by a cultural celebration.
In preparation for the Nov. 4 event, Catholic Cemeteries will co-present with the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education a Día de los Muertos catechetical day for Catholic students from East LA on Friday, Nov. 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More than 200 students from nine nearby Catholic schools will gather at Calvary Cemetery to learn about the meaning of Día de los Muertos/All Souls Day. The students will decorate sugar skulls, picture frames and craft paper flowers, and build a school Día de los Muertos altar with flowers and mementos of loved ones.
“Although death can be a painful and sometimes misunderstood part of human life, it is through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus (his death and resurrection) that death finds its true meaning. As we come to the celebration of All Souls Day, it is important to be reminded of that hope, and it is also important that we have a better understanding of different cultural celebrations surrounding these days and to situate them in the light of our Catholic faith,” said Fr. Christopher Bazyouros, director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education.
Food and refreshments will be provided by local vendors, including Vallarta Supermarkets, Jarritos, Caremore, Wienerschnitzel, Tortas Chago, El Gallo Giro, Teresita’s Restaurant, Forneris Farms, and Vaneza’s Bakery. Other sponsors include the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education, Catholic Communication Collaboration (C3) with Sprint, La Curacao, Cruz Flowers, Forneris Farms, American Marble & Granite
R.A.Y’s Pool Plastering, and Santa Clara Diesel.
Please find attached bilingual fliers for both events. For more information, please visit www.archla.org/diadelosmuertos.