Orange County, Calif., Aug 12, 2016 / 09:24 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Major celebrations are set to mark the 40th anniversary of California’s Diocese of Orange, one of the largest dioceses in the U.S.
“We have been incredibly blessed by God as a community of faith over the past 40 years,” Bishop Kevin Vann said Aug. 1. “Our diocese has humbly fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and offered Christ’s Mercy to all who suffer in our parishes, Catholic hospitals and clinics, ministries of education, and our missions of charity throughout the county.”
The Christ Cathedral Campus in Garden Grove will host the Sunday, Sept. 18 celebrations. The events will help celebrate the history of each of the diocese’s parish communities and honor the diversity of the Church. The day begins at 7:30 a.m. with a 5k run and a “fun run” in the neighborhood of Christ Cathedral.
At 9:30 a.m. Mass will be celebrated for over 5,000 people. At 11 a.m., carnival games, rides and other activities will open, including sledding on real snow. There will food vendors and a beer garden opening at 11:30 and running through 9 p.m. A music festival will begin at 3:30 p.m.
Performers include Matt Maher, Colton Dixon, Phil Wickham, Andy Mineo, Jordan Feliz, and Jackie Francois. The campus cultural center will host an all-day photo exhibit, while the Freed Theater will host a speakers’ series from 12-3 p.m.
Bishop Vann said the celebration will honor the work of the diocese and celebrate the people who have made the ministries possible. It will be a time to “rededicate ourselves to the work of Christ for the many decades to come.”
Pope Paul VI established the diocese in 1976. It began with 44 parishes and over 300,000 Catholics. The diocese is now home to over 1.3 million Catholics, who make up nearly 40 percent of the population. They are served by 62 parishes and centers and 41 schools.
“In Orange County like anywhere, life and the church will change. Faith remains a deeply personal experience, yet all Catholics celebrate that faith together,” Bishop Vann added. “The Catholic Church has served as a steady unifying spiritual force over the last two centuries in Southern California and will continue to care for a diverse community.”
“The diocese remains strong and spiritually rich,” he said. “We invite the community to join us at Christ Cathedral to celebrate this journey and look to a future full of hope and grace.” Sponsors of the celebration include Saint Joseph Health and Farmers & Merchants Bank.