As United States Catholics prepare for a visit from the Pope in September, the Los Angeles Archdiocese is holding a mass this Sunday aiming to change the minds of those that oppose immigration. In June, during one of his weekly addresses, Pope Francis asked the world to pray for people and institutions that turn their backs on migrants.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of L.A. asks Catholics to come together for a special mass to celebrate immigrants.
"As we prepare for Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. and pray for the Holy Spirit to move the hearts of our legislators as they make decisions towards comprehensive immigration reform, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez has called the faithful of Southern California to gather in prayer on July 19 for the Mass in Recognition of Immigrants at 4 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels."
Invitations have been extended to political leaders, says Aurora Rowland-Martinez, a church member of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church and one of the organizers of the mass. She is an occupational therapist and has volunteered in workshops helping immigrants apply for licenses.
Martinez says that, with political elections coming up, immigration is certain to be on many politicians' minds.
"This mass has been planned months ago," Martinez says, "and I think that because of the presidential elections taking place next year, of course one of the hot topics has been immigration and whether or not we are going to have immigration reform."
The Archdiocese of L.A. Office of Life, Justice and Peace will specifically recognize DACA recipients and individuals who have recently received citizenship. Volunteers and parishes that have helped immigrants receive their licenses after the passing of AB60 will also be recognized.
The mass will be in three languages: English, Spanish and Tagalog. The mass will be live streamed.