Cathedral of Our Lady of Angeles
Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels. Photo by John Schreiber.

A Spanish-language Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in honor of former Pope Paul VI, Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, four other religious leaders and an orphan boy who were elevated to sainthood Sunday by Pope Francis.

More than 3,000 people are expected for the 12:15 p.m. Mass, which will be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar just hours after the canonization ceremony in Rome.

Pope Paul VI, who died Aug. 6, 1978, is remembered for `guiding the Catholic Church through one of its most turbulent eras, the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965, which led to the modernization of many church traditions.

Romero, who denounced the repression and poverty in his native El Salvador, was assassinated March 24, 1980 as he celebrated the Eucharist in a hospital chapel in San Salvador. In the years since his death, Romero has been revered as an icon in Latin America and elsewhere.

“We thank God for these canonizations,” said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, who attended the ceremony in Rome along with a delegation of more than 120 Catholics from the Los Angeles area. “Our new saint, Pope VI, was a prophet for our times. As the Pope of Vatican II, he called the Church to proclaim holiness and salvation to the modern world and to rediscover the beauty and ethics of human love.”

Gomez praised Romero for making the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs.

“Monsenor Romero was a heroic bishop and martyr for the faith,” Gomez said. ” But he is not a saint because of the way he died. He is a saint because of the way he lived. He gave everything for Jesus. He gave everything for the love of God and the love of his brothers and sisters.”

A chapel in Romero’s honor, featuring relics and photographs from his pastoral life in El Salvador, will be on display at the downtown cathedral through Oct. 26.

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