By Junno Arocho
LOS ANGELES, AUG. 7, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles called on tens of thousands of participants gathered at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for a Guadalupe Celebration to follow the call of the Patroness of the Americas.
The event last Sunday featured prayer, sacred song, contemporary Christian music, traditional Mexican performances, guest speakers, and veneration of the relic of St. Juan Diego’s tilma. Archbishop Gómez served as the keynote speaker at the gathering.
Recalling the persecution of Catholics in Mexico during the Cristero War, Archbishop Gómez spoke of the many refugees who found a new home within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
"As we probably know, thousands of refugees from the Cristero War found a home here in Los Angeles. Many of them were priests and religious men and women who fled persecution. Many were lay people who became founding parishioners of some of our churches. And we still have some 'Angelinos' [Los Angeles residents] who are survivors of the Cristero War," he said.
"This great Archdiocese of Los Angeles became a city of refuge for thousands of men and women forced to flee the persecutions in Mexico."
The Mexican-born prelate spoke on the life of Blessed Maria Ines, who was beatified in Mexico City this year. The Carmelite nun, along with the rest of her congregation were exiled during the Cristero War and sought refuge in Los Angeles in 1929. Blessed Maria Ines pronounced her temporary vows in a local parish in the archdiocese.
Archbishop Gómez stated that he considered Blessed Maria Ines as a local saint since it was in Los Angeles where she received her calling from the Virgin Mary to begin her apostolate. Blessed Maria Ines went on to establish the Poor Clare Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, which has spread across 14 countries worldwide.
The archbishop of Los Angeles reminded those present that the Virgin of Tepeyac came not only for Mexico, but for the world as well. "Mary came to Tepeyac because she is our loving Mother. She came because in her maternal heart she wanted to give her Son to the people of the new world. She came to spread the faith in her Divine Son to every man and every woman -- not only in Mexico, but throughout the world," he said.
Archbishop Gómez concluded his address, urging participants of the celebration to follow the call of the Blessed Mother to "dedicate our lives to the loving plan of God."
"Let’s ask Our Lady of Guadalupe -- the bright star of the first evangelization and the Mother of the New Evangelization -- to help us all to be better instruments of the love God. So that everyone in our world may come to love him -- very, very much," he concluded.
--- --- ---
On ZENIT's Web page:
Full text: www.zenit.org/article-35326?l=english