An article in LAist, supported by a grant to Southern California Public Radio, describes the Archdiocese's annual Celebration of Cultures Mass that took place in Los Angeles last month. Festivities included a procession of representatives in traditional dress and prayers in multiple languages to honor the diversity of L.A.’s many Catholic communities.
Author Aaron Schrank reports on religion and diaspora in Southern California under a grant from the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs.
In Los Angeles, Catholic masses aren't just in English or Spanish. Across the L.A. Archdiocese, immigrant communities hold regular services in more than 40 languages. That diversity was on full display Saturday at the Archdiocese's annual Celebration of Cultures Mass.
The event at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels kicked off with a procession of representatives from 30 Catholic communities: Chinese Catholics, Brazilian Catholics, Nigerian Catholics, all wearing traditional attire and holding posters honoring the Catholic icons associated with their homelands.
"This is like the sixth or seventh year that I've been here doing this," said Jesus Acuna, representing L.A.'s Mexican Catholic community with a Virgin of Guadalupe poster. "This event is welcoming to all of us. This is something very, very beautiful."
The Mexican Catholic dance group Danza Guadalupana from Oxnard presented a liturgical dance with indigenous roots. Priests offered prayers in Vietnamese, Lithuanian, Korean and Tagalog.
The nearly five million Catholics in Los Angeles come from about 70 countries, according to the Archdiocese. Archbishop Jose Gomez called on L.A.'s different Catholic immigrant groups to unite as one church, while honoring cultural differences.
"We all belong here," said Gomez. "We need integration, but at the same time, we need respect for our customs and our traditions in every community."