September 12, 2023  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

—Honorees will receive special, newly commissioned pins in memory of late Bishop David O’Connell; Faithful will venerate relics of four Catholic saints, patrons of immigrants—

Hundreds of local community members serving as part of the L.A. Welcomes Collective will be honored for their services to migrant and refugee families during the bilingual (English/Spanish) Mass in Recognition of All Immigrants presided by Archbishop José H. Gomez at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, September 17, 2023 at 3 p.m. The Mass, which will be concelebrated by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ auxiliary bishops and bishops of neighboring dioceses, is held annually to unite in prayer and to celebrate the immigrant spirit and migrants’ contributions to the Archdiocese and the country. The Mass will be preceded by a pre-procession of immigration ministry leaders.

“This has been another challenging year for our immigrant community,” said Archbishop Gomez. “I am really looking forward to this time for us to come together as one family of God, to pray and share God’s love and compassion. Let’s keep praying that America will continue to be a beacon of hope for peoples who have no place left to turn.”

Honors will be granted to members of the L.A. Welcomes Collective, a network of immigrant rights, immigration legal services providers, and faith organizations focused on migrant arrival rapid response. To date, the collective has mobilized efforts for 13 bus arrivals into the city of Los Angeles since June 14. The members of the L.A. Welcomes Collective include the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, City and County of Los Angeles, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE-LA), Central American Resource Center-Los Angeles (CARECEN), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, and Immigrant Defenders Law Center (ImmDef).

Also honored will be community members of St. Anthony’s Croatian Catholic Church, St. Peter’s Italian Church, Our Lady of the Rosary of Talpa Church, Cathedral High School and Salesian High School for opening their doors and offering support during the ongoing migrant arrivals. Young adults from American Martyrs Parish will be recognized for their service to unaccompanied minors.

The Mass will feature a testimony by LAPD Assistant Chief Al Labrada, who has developed programs to help people in the community understand that LAPD does not enforce immigration law. He was an undocumented immigrant for many years before reaching his naturalization and becoming a civil servant.

Honorees will receive a special pin designed by local sacred artist Lalo Garcia in memory of Bishop G. O’Connell, co-founder of the Inter-diocesan Immigration Task Force, which embraces his Irish background and his love and devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The annual Mass commemorates National Migration Week 2023, from September 18-24, and the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, “Free to choose whether to migrate or stay” on September 24.

The bilingual celebration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels will begin with a pre-liturgy procession inside the church. Local civic and diplomatic leaders will be present.

Following the Mass, the faithful will be able to venerate the relics of St. Junípero Serra, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, St. John Baptist Scalabrini and St. Toribio Romo. These saints are of great significance to the Catholic immigrant community in the U.S. and abroad.

If the faithful and the public would like to support immigrant and refugee efforts, please consider Catholic Charities Los Angeles, which offers legal advice,

For more information, please call (213) 637-7820 or visit For information on World Day of Migrant and Refugees and National Migration Week, visit

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