The following comes from a July 18 Angelus article:
Two groups of pilgrims set out on long journeys on foot in the early morning hours on Sunday.
Their destination was the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles to join in a special Mass in Recognition of All Immigrants. The pilgrims, from different nationalities and backgrounds, challenged themselves to walk these long distances to raise awareness of the dire need of comprehensive immigration reform. They were attending the call to be merciful and compassionate in this Year of Mercy.
The pilgrims joined thousands of faithful at the cathedral, including those from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Dioceses of San Bernardino and Orange who gathered for the special Mass presided by Archbishop José H. Gomez at the cathedral.
“We gather to pray for all of the immigrants and their families- past, present and future. We 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,” Archbishop Gomez said.
On Friday, July 15, a group from Lake Forest began a three-day, 50-mile walking pilgrimage to the Mass to unite the faithful in prayer and reflection for all those impacted by what they experience as a broken immigration system.
The pilgrimage, called “Siempre Adelante” (Always Forward), was dedicated to 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.
Before Mass, immigrants of diverse backgrounds shared testimonies including Emiliano Leonides, one of the leaders of the “Siempre Adelante” pilgrimage for a second consecutive year and catechist at Santiago de Compostela Church in Lake Forest.
“I’m here to ask God and all the people attending the Mass in Recognition of All Immigrants to not forget how much we suffer when pursuing our dreams and crossing the border,” said Leonides. “We are sending the message to those in power that there’s a need to change the laws for a comprehensive immigration reform and stop the separation of families,” he added.
“I am walking with them to raise awareness about the need for comprehensive immigration reform and to let people know what the Constitution states: that we are one under God. God loves all his children,” said Lily Nguyen-Ellis, also a parishioner of Santiago de Compostela Church, who joined the pilgrimage for the first time this year.