DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS CELEBRATION RETURNS TO CALVARY CEMETERY IN EAST L.A. AND FOR THE FIRST TIME CELEBRATED AT SANTA CLARA CEMETERY IN OXNARD
–Latin Grammy-Nominated Trio Ellas to Perform at Both Events–
–Pilgrim Image of the Virgin of Guadalupe to be Present at Santa Clara in Oxnard–
The Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be hosting again this year a Día de Los Muertos celebration in East Los Angeles on Saturday, October 29 and, for the first time, in Oxnard on Saturday, November 5. Both events are free and offer a unique opportunity for families to celebrate a Catholic tradition that unites faith, prayer and cultural heritage to commemorate All Souls Day.
“Over the past three 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.”
Día de los Muertos, or All Souls Day celebration, is a vibrant faith-based tradition, when the life of the deceased is honored and celebrated through songs, prayer and ofrendas (altars).
The celebration on October 29 at Calvary Cemetery in East LA (4201 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles) will begin at 10 a.m. with Mass at the main mausoleum, followed by a cultural program featuring Aztec and folkloric dancers.
Festivities on November 5 at Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard (2370 N. H St., Oxnard) will begin at 10 a.m. with the Rosary featuring the pilgrim images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and San Juan Diego, followed by a cultural celebration including performances by Ballet Folklorico Bell Arts of Ventura and Ballet Folklórico Cielito Lindo of Simi Valley.
Both events will include 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, activities for children, including crafts and calavera (skull) face painting, and a special performance by Latin Grammy® nominated Trio Ellas.
The community is encouraged to bring copies of photos of their departed loved ones to help decorate a massive community altar built by the Oaxacan community from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Ministerio Parroquial Virgen de Juquila.
“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.
Traditional altars will be on display throughout the event spaces, which are being created by individuals or groups of people for a deceased loved one, such as family members, friends, or the favorite saint; or in honor of a group – military veterans, victims of violence or injustice in the U.S. or abroad.
Sacred art specialist Lalo Garcia and a group of local artists will exhibit their art pieces at both events, including: Jesus Molina, Rosa Alvarez, Joe Saenz and Salvador Rodriguez. Artists Agustin Bravo and Luis Villanueva will join the art exhibit in Oxnard.
In preparation for the Oct. 29 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 Thursday, Oct. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nearly 300 students from ninenearby 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.
“In Scripture we read in the Book of Tobit that he ‘performed many charitable deeds for [his] kindred’ which included burying the dead. To care for the dead is an act of mercy and charity,” said Fr. Bazyouros, who will bless the schools’ altars and will lead a procession and a brief Rosary with the students. “This celebration reminds us that we are called to care for those who have died as an ultimate act of respect for their life and to care for the family so that they are lifted up by the hope of the resurrection.”
Please find attached bilingual flyers for both events. For more information, please visit www.archla.org/diadelosmuertos.