DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS CELEBRATION COMES TO OXNARD CEMETERY IN FOR FIRST TIME
–Pilgrim Image of the Virgin of Guadalupe to be Present during Rosary; Latin Grammy-Nominated Trio Ellas to Perform–
The Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be hosting, for the first time, a Día de los Muertos celebration at Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard on Saturday, November 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The celebration is free and offers a unique opportunity for families to celebrate a vibrant Catholic tradition that unites faith, prayer and cultural heritage to commemorate All Souls Day through song, prayer and ofrendas (altars). Event will feature a special performance by Latin Grammy® nominated Trio Ellas and a 16-foot marigold cross in honor of all the departed faithful of Oxnard. The marigold is a traditional Día de los Muertos flower representing the glory of heaven.
The celebration begins at 10 a.m. with a Rosary prayer service featuring the pilgrim images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and San Juan Diego, which have been visiting parish communities throughout the Archdiocese in LA, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties as part of an annual pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The images will arrive to site of the prayer service in a procession by faithful and Aztec dancers, marking the images first visit to Santa Clara Cemetery.
Following the Rosary, Fr. Christopher Bazyouros, director of the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education, will provide a brief presentation about the meaning and significance of the Día de los Muertos, and lead a procession around the Main Mausoleum to bless the altars honoring the faithful departed.
“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,” said Fr. Bazyouros. “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.”
Forty traditional altars will be on display throughout the Cemetery’s Main Mausoleum. Altars are being created by families who have a loved one buried or interned at the Cemetery, individuals or community members honoring a deceased loved one, or groups including the Filipino Community of Ventura County and Consulate General of Mexico. The community is encouraged to bring copies of photos of their departed loved ones to be placed on a massive community altar built by members of the Catholic Oaxacan community of Los Angeles.
Sacred art specialist Lalo Garcia and a group of local artists will exhibit their work, including: Jesus Molina, Rosa Alvarez, Joe Saenz and Salvador Rodriguez, Agustin Bravo and Luis Villanueva. A 14-foot traditional colored sawdust carpet, by artist Eduardo Serrato Moreno, will be featured in the Main Mausoleum.
The cultural celebration will include dance performances by Filipino groups Kilusan Filipino and Salin Lahi Filipno, Ballet Folklorico Bell Arts of Ventura and Ballet Folklorico Cielito Lindo of Simi Valley. Activities for children will include calavera (skull) face painting and crafts. The Filipino Community of Ventura County will donate lumpia, a traditional Filipino spring roll, and other snacks will be provided by Catholic Cemeteries.
“We are grateful to the families who participate in sharing their stories with us and the community,” said Brian McMahon, director of Administrative Services of the Catholic Cemeteries Department. “This cultural celebration allows 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.”
For more information, please visit www.archla.org/diadelosmuertos.