October 28, 2019  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

-Calvary Cemetery & Mortuary in East LA Welcomes All to Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 2-

Catholic Cemeteries & Mortuaries of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Día de los Muertos celebration at Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard drew more than 5,000 locals this past Saturday (Oct. 26) for a vibrant Catholic tradition uniting faith and cultural heritage to commemorate All Souls Day through prayer, dance, song and “ofrendas” (altars). Volunteers and families began setting up for days leading up to the celebration including building a 16-foot tall marigold cross in honor of all the departed faithful of Oxnard. This video (https://youtu.be/ElAi3GJR2fg) offers a glimpse into the preparations.

Auxiliary Bishop Alex Aclan, for the San Fernando Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese, began the festivities by celebrating an outdoor Mass for all attendees. Footage from the celebration was captured on a livestream available at https://youtu.be/_Avk3jArhIk.

“Let us never forget those who have passed,” said Bishop Aclan. “We are one in our faith and Church. Together, let us never forget those who have passed and continue to pray for them. Our prayers are very powerful for those who are on their way to heaven.”

More than 110 altars built by local families of deceased loved ones were on display throughout the cemetery, and a community altar dedicated to this year’s shooting victims and to victims of bullying will be available for people to decorate with photographs of their departed loved ones.

“Participating brought a lot of happiness and love to my heart because I, my family, and people from all around Ventura county were able to celebrate, commemorate, and remember all those what have passed away before us,” said Maria Martinez, one of Santa Clara Cemetery patrons who built an altar for the second consecutive year, dedicated to her son Raul Parga, who was 30 years old when he passed away. “My son passed away of double ammonia in his lung and it was very hard for me and my family to live through all this. We created the altar not only because we wanted to celebrate and commemorate his life but to also show others how much of an impact he has and will always leave on us for the rest our lives.”

The celebration continues Saturday, Nov. 2, at Calvary Cemetery in East L.A. (4201 Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90023) beginning at noon with an outdoor Mass presided by Archbishop José H. Gomez featuring for the first time the pilgrim images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego. After Mass, there will be a presentation about the meaning and significance of the celebration commemorating the Feast of All Souls in the Catholic Church and then Archbishop Gomez will lead a procession around the cemetery to bless the altars.

Every year, communities from different parishes, ministries and groups come together to build altars with a specific message. Members of the local Catholic Oaxacan community will build a large-scale community altar where all are encouraged to bring copies of photos of their departed loved ones to help decorate. The Hispanic Ministry of St. Charles Borromeo Parish will have an altar in honor of the children who have lost their lives migrating to the U.S., the Salvadoran Community of St. Frances X Cabrini Parish will honor the memory of St. Oscar Romero, and the Knights of Columbus will honor the fallen veterans.

Sacred art specialist Lalo Garcia and a group of local artists will exhibit their work, including Jesus Molina, Rosamaria Alvarez, Joe Saenz, Salvador Rodriguez, Jorge Rodriguez, Laura Vasquez Rodriguez and Rick Ortega. 

In preparation for the Nov. 2 celebration, Catholic Cemeteries & Mortuaries will co-present with the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education a Día de los Muertos Catechetical Day for local Catholic school students on Wednesday, October 30, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More than 350 students from 15 nearby Catholic schools will gather at Calvary Cemetery to learn about the meaning of Día de los Muertos as celebration commemorating the Feast of All Souls in the Catholic Church. 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.

Free food samples and refreshments will be provided by local vendors: Chago Tortas Ahogadas, Forneris Farms and Vallarta Supermarkets. Event sponsors include the Anthem BlueCross, Batesville, Catholic Communication Collaboration (C3), Clark & Green Associates, KWHY-22, Metro (MTA), Moskatels and Platt Security.

Please find attached a bilingual flyer for the event in East LA and a photo of Auxiliary Bishop Alex Aclan, for the San Fernando Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese, blessing altars at the Día de los Muertos celebration at Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard on Saturday, October 26.

Additional photos from the Santa Clara Cemetery celebration are available at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1h7Zi6Kbtg0OLVsTqtgSOB6lkI5BARNXA and video at https://youtu.be/_Avk3jArhIk.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest Archdiocese in the United States with approximately five million Catholics. For the latest news, events and to subscribe for media alerts visit media.la-archdiocese.org. Follow us using @LACatholics on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Video archives and footage of Masses celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez are also available.