Los Angeles priests have begun celebrating weekend Masses for unaccompanied migrant children housed at federal emergency shelters in Long Beach and Pomona.

The private liturgies began in early May after the Archdiocese of Los Angeles secured permission for the liturgies at the Long Beach Convention Center and the Pomona Fairplex.

“My heart breaks for what these children have been through, and I want to help them any way I can,” said Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell, who celebrated the first Sunday Mass for newly arrived children in Pomona on May 9.

Speaking to Angelus before the Mass, Bishop O’Connell said he looked forward to preaching about becoming a friend of Jesus.

“Many [of the youth] have been through difficult times. Jesus invites each one with a friendship with himself.”

The first shelter Mass was celebrated in Long Beach on Saturday, May 1, by Msgr. Jarlath Cunnane, better known as “Father Jay,” pastor of St. Cornelius Church in Long Beach. Auxiliary Bishop Marc Trudeau of the archdiocese’s San Pedro Pastoral Region, celebrated Mass for another group of kids the next day.

Since then, a number of priests specially trained to work with migrant children have officiated services at both shelters. In Long Beach, they include: Father George Aguilera, pastor of St. Anthony Church in Long Beach; Father Budi Wardhana, pastor of St. Lucy Church in Long Beach; and Msgr. John Woolway. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez is scheduled to celebrate a Mass at the Long Beach shelter on Sunday, May 30. 

Full story at Angelus News.