Hundreds of people completed pilgrimages over the weekend in Los Angeles, California, during which they prayed for the “immigrant spirit” in the United States.
One of the processions, named “Siempre Adelante” (Always Forward), started in Orange County and covered about 80 kilometers (50 miles) over three days, ending at the Los Angeles cathedral, where Mass was celebrated.
“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,” Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez said at the cathedral, where pilgrims from parishes in San Bernardino County and other areas gathered.
“Today, we celebrate the immigrant spirit of our country’s people. This is the story of the state of California, this is the story of our country, which is a nation of immigrants,” Gomez said.
Mexican Emiliano Leonides, an undocumented immigrant who marched from Orange County, told the congregation how “after many years of efforts and hard work,” he was able to save up the money to pay for surgery that saved his father’s life.
Guatemalan Juanatano Cano, who told part of his story in his native Mayan language, said he recently earned a master’s degree at California state University at Northridge, and he praised the opportunities the United States offers those who strive to get ahead and work hard.
Juan Samayoa, a 17-year-old Guatemalan who arrived in the United States unaccompanied by an adult, told the audience how he had to flee his country because of gang violence.