July 8, 2016  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

Group to Walk 50 Miles to Participate in the Mass as Part of Three-Day Pilgrimage in Solidarity and Prayer for all Immigrants

Thousands of faithful, including those from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Dioceses of San Bernardino and Orange will gather, Sunday, July 17 at 3:15 p.m., for a special 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.

“We will celebrate the immigrant spirit of the people of our country. This is the story of Los Angeles, the story of the State of California, and the story of our country–which is a nation of immigrants, ”said Archbishop Gomez. “We will gather to pray for all of the immigrants and their families –past, present and future. We will pray for immigration reform in our country, for our elected officials and for people all over the world that they open their hearts to the immigrants who come to their countries.”

On Friday, July 15, a group from Orange County will kick off a three-day, 50-mile walking pilgrimage to the Mass to unite the faithful in prayer and reflection for all those impacted by the broken immigration system. The pilgrimage is called “Siempre Adelante” (Always Forward) in honor of St. Junípero Serra– whose first feast day was July 1– as it follows part of the same route he traveled with fellow missionaries to found the first nine missions in California.

A pre-gathering procession will begin inside the Cathedral, which will include representatives from parishes throughout Southern California and people impacted by the broken immigration system, including DACA students, parents eligible for DAPA and families facing separation, as well as refugees and expatriates from different nationalities. Members of the interfaith community will also be present. Local immigrants will share their testimonies, including:

•    Sophie Tran, a second generation Vietnamese woman of O.C. whose parents were among the refugees who arrived in Camp Pendleton during the VietnamWar.

  • Emiliano Leonides, one of the pilgrims from O.C., who immigrated from Guerrero, Mexico. After years of work, he was able to raise the money needed for his ill father’s surgery and ultimately saved his life. He remains undocumented and hasn’t seen his parents in seven years.
  • Juanatano Cano, a native of Guatemala and recent master’s graduate of California State University, Northridge. He will share part of his story in his native Mayan language.
  • Juan Samayoa, a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor from Guatemala who was forced to leave his home country because of gang persecution.

The relics of Saints Junipero Serra, Frances Xavier Cabrini and Toribio Romo will be on display during the Mass and available for public veneration following the Mass. These saints are of great significance to the Catholic immigrant community in the U.S. from its founding to present day.

  • St. Junipero Serra was the first evangelizer in California who by 1782 had founded the first 9 of 21 California missions. Canonized last year by Pope Francis, St. Junípero is America’s first Hispanic saint and the first saint canonized on American soil.
  • St. Frances Xavier Cabrini is the patron saint of all immigrants and first American citizen and immigrant to be canonized. She lived and worked in Los Angeles and celebrated the silver jubilee of the order she founded, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, in St. Vibiana’s Cathedral in 1905.
  • St. Toribio Romo was killed in 1928 during the Cristero War in Mexico. He is revered by many presently for interceding on behalf of migrants and those crossing borders.