October 15, 2018  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

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Archbishop Gomez will celebrate Mass at Calvary Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 3.

The Catholic Cemeteries and Mortuaries of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will be hosting again this year the Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration in Oxnard on Saturday, October 27 and, in East L.A. on Saturday, November 3. Both events start at 10:30 am, and will offer a unique opportunity for our parish families to celebrate a Catholic tradition that unites faith, prayer and cultural heritage to commemorate All Souls Day. 

“We are very happy and excited to be celebrating our 5th. Annual Día de los Muertos at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles and our 3rd Annual DDLM at Santa Clara In Oxnard,” said Brian McMahon, director of Administrative Services of the Catholic Cemeteries Department. “Each year our event has grown in the participation of families building altars to honor and represent the lives of their loved ones. This year, at Santa Clara we have close to 100 families building altars. We have found that this spiritual and cultural event allows our patrons the ability to share and honor the stories of their loved ones’ earthly lives. You can’t help but be moved by the amount of effort, care and detail given to the displays. Personally, I most enjoy hearing the families reminisce with each other as they build their altars together in the preceding days. I believe this is what DDLM is truly about. Over these past few years we have seen how it brings families together. Rather than sadness there is a sense of joy and happiness.”

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 27 at Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard (2370 N. H St. 93036) will begin at 12 p.m. with a Mass celebrated at the chapel, featuring the pilgrim images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and San Juan Diego, which will be available for veneration after the Mass. A cultural celebration will follow.

The event on November 3 at Calvary Cemetery in East L.A. (4201 Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90023) will begin with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez at 12 p.m., which will be broadcast live on EWTN, followed by a cultural celebration.

Both celebrations are free, open to the public, fun for the entire family. They 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 Mariachi Las Colibrí (Calvary) and America’s Got Talent semifinalist Angelito Garcia (Santa Clara). Sacred art specialist Lalo Garcia and a group of artists from Los Angeles will exhibit their art pieces.

The public is encouraged to build their own altar for a deceased loved one, their favorite saint, 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.

The community can bring copies of photos of their departed loved ones to help decorate a massive community altar, another feature of the event.

In preparation for the Nov. 3 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. 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More than 226 students from 10 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.

Food and refreshments will be provided by local vendors, including Vallarta Supermarkets, Tortas Chago, Forneris Farms, and Vaneza’s Bakery. Other sponsors include the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education, Catholic Communication Collaboration (C3) with Sprint, Calle Tacos, Metro (MTA), Moskatel’s, Perfect Press, Santa Clara Diesel, Ozuna Electric, Batesville, and the Archdiocese’s Office of Religious Education.

Please find attached bilingual flyers for both events. For more information, please visit www.archla.org/diadelosmuertos.