“This new tradition is to encourage community building,” said Wilfredo Aguirre, diocesan director of advocacy and justice for immigrants. “I really want us to start walking together, respecting the different cultures that we come from but walking as one in Christ.”

The Diocesan Migrant Mass was celebrated by Bishop Emeritus Gerald Barnes at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral in San Bernardino. This year, the national campaign theme is “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay.” According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the theme calls attention to the conviction that persons have a right not to migrate and if a person migrates it should be done by choice and not by necessity.

“This community, if we do walk together, then we can celebrate in solidarity,” Aguirre said. “This is an opportunity for us as migrants reflect on the situation of new arrivals and build solidarity through our different groups so that we can welcome those newly arriving.”

The Diocesan Migrant Mass highlights the importance of migration in the world, the U.S. and within the Diocese. Traditionally, the Migrant Mass includes celebration through praying and singing in various languages, showcasing traditional wardrobes and sharing diverse cultural foods. In addition to these traditions, this year’s Migrant Mass debuted a brand-new tradition of presenting, sharing and gifting a patron saint statue from one ethnic community to another….

This new tradition called on every ethnic community participating in the Migrant Mass to research and select one saint from their native country that represents and can be a symbol for that community. After choosing their patron saint, each community was asked to obtain a small statue or image of that saint and designate two people that would present it at the Mass….

From the Inland Catholic Byte