LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said in his homily at June 18 Mass that “the promise of America is that this land will be a home for all peoples.”
That promise is for all “no matter what the color of their skin, or what nation they came from, or what language they speak, or what religion they believe,” he said during a special Mass he celebrated in solidarity with all immigrants.
Thousands joined the archbishop for the Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.
It was the culmination of a novena — nine days of prayer and reflection — at parishes throughout the three counties that make up the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and a three-day, 50-mile walk by pilgrims from Orange County to the cathedral for all those impacted by the nation’s broken immigration system.
“Let us pray for our country today,” Archbishop Gomez said in his homily. “May we know peace and security and freedom in our borders, and may our children be blessed. Let us pray for our leaders in Washington and all those who serve our country in government and law enforcement. Let us dedicate ourselves — all of us — to the beautiful promise of America!”
“It is beautiful to see so many families here today,” he told the congregation, after wishing the fathers present a Happy Father’s Day.
“Let us keep our fathers in our prayers this morning — our fathers who are with us, and our fathers who have passed on,” he said. “And all our fathers and family members who are separated from us by oceans and borders.”
Archbishop Gomez continued: “Today we are also celebrating the immigrant spirit that makes America great. America has always been a beautiful collection of many immigrant peoples. And the immigrant spirit is still renewing the soul of America — even though we are going through some hard times and struggles in recent years.”
He said that “there is a time for politics and there is a time for prayer. A time for action and a time for reflection. Now is a time for prayer.”
“In our lives, we need prayer and action,” said Archbishop Gomez, who is vice president of the U.S. bishops’ conference. “But, as the saints remind us — prayer should always come first. So today we ask God’s Spirit to enlighten our minds and open our hearts. We ask him to strengthen us as we continue on our journey.”
Coinciding with the Mass, the archdiocese also launched TheNextAmerica.org (FuturoEstadosUnidos.org), a new bilingual website aiming to raise awareness, provide resources and share the Christian perspective on immigration.
Following the liturgy, those in attendance venerated the relics of St. Junipero Serra, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and St. Toribio Romo. The three saints hold great significance to the Catholic immigrant community in the U.S.
Massgoers also wrote prayer requests for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe that they left in the cathedral’s Shrine of the Relic of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Archbishop Gomez will present the prayers at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City during a Mass he will celebrate there July 8 during the first Los Angeles archdiocesan pilgrimage. Catholics may submit prayer requests at TheNextAmerica.org though the first week of July.
TheNextAmerica.org provides information and resources for anyone interested in or affected by immigration in the U.S. The site includes an overview of immigration from a Christian perspective; Archbishop Gomez’ vision of immigration in the U.S.; an outline on the need for immigration reform; resources for parish communities and the media; and a list of various ways people can become involved in the issue.
Catholics across the Archdiocese of Los Angeles also are sharing immigration stories on social media using the hashtag #PrayForImmigrants and using the #PrayForImmigrants Facebook profile photo frame available at archla.org/prayforimmigrants.