He thanked lawmakers for “everything you do to promote human dignity and justice for the poor and the vulnerable in our society.”

Yet, the archbishop pointed out, meaningful immigration reform must take place on a national level, and he encouraged prayers for the nation’s leaders in Washington.

Quoting Pope Francis, he said, “The measure of a society’s greatness is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty.”  

California has promoted freedom, human rights, working equality and respect for the environment, the archbishop said.

“This noble work is the duty of government,” he added. “But it’s also the shared mission of many of the diverse religious communities that make their home here in California.”

The prayer service itself, the archbishop said, was a sign of a “common commitment” to work together in service of the people of California.

“So let us renew our dedication to this noble project of building a greater California,” he said. “A California where no one is a stranger and where every human life is welcomed and wanted, valued and defended — from conception to natural death.”