‘Go out and spread the Gospel,’ archbishop urges assemblies at Cathedral celebrations.On several occasions, the assembly attending the Sept. 2 morning Masses at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was reminded by Archbishop José Gomez that they are “living stones” called to “go out and spread the Gospel.”As a way of emphasizing how the laity can contribute to the growth of the Church — to the “new evangelization” — Archbishop Gomez invited the assembly at the Spanish noon Mass to the blessing of the first chapel inside the Cathedral dedicated to both St. Juan Diego and the Virgin of Guadalupe in commemoration of the Cathedral’s 10th anniversary.A relic from the tilma or cloak of the “campesino” to whom the Virgin appeared in 1531 is encased in a gold-plated silver 18th century reliquary that also contains relics of St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Francis Borgia and St. Teresa of Avila. In the display, the relic is affixed to the chest of a bronze sculpture of the saint that seems to be flying out from one of the golden walls under the watchful eye of the Virgin of Guadalupe (a mosaic made in Rome and donated to the Cathedral).During his homily, Archbishop Gomez also highlighted the importance of the tapestries that adorn the walls of the main altar.“It is a story of conversion and witness,” he said. “It is a story of men and women seeking God and his holiness; their eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, following him with faith and joy.“This Cathedral should remind us every day that our modern, secularized city, which plays such a big role in shaping opinions, fashions and culture, is named for the angels of God and the Blessed Mother of Jesus Christ, who is the Queen of all the Angels in heaven,” Archbishop Gomez told the packed Cathedral, including dignitaries and longtime Cathedral members.“Los Angeles — and all of California and the Americas — is product of the Christian mission to the New World. We can never forget that,” he continued.Calling the Cathedral a “sacrament, a living sign of God’s intentions” and the “newest of our mission churches,” the archbishop summarized the journey of Christ’s apostles who carried the Gospel from Galilee and Jerusalem throughout Europe and Asia, and centuries later their successors sent missionaries from Spain to the New World, the Americas.“These missionaries came up from Mexico to evangelize California,” he remarked. “They built mission churches up and down the long road they called the King’s Highway, El Camino Real. As we know, that original highway passed by not far from this place.“And this mission continues in you and in me,” the archbishop told the assembly. “The faith we have received, we are called to give to others. Through our faith and in our lives, we are all called to write new chapters in the story of salvation. We are called to build on the foundations laid by Padre Junípero Serra and those first missionaries.“We are living stones called to build a spiritual house,” he said, citing the second reading in St. Peter.He called Catholics “building materials” that God uses to “make this whole world his Church, a sanctuary of his love, a temple where he comes to meet his children.”After mentioning how God makes himself present in the Eucharist, Archbishop Gomez urged the assembly to see in the Cathedral more than a building, but a “holy place, a hallowed ground,” a place where all “men and women come to listen to the living Word of God.“This should be the epicenter of the new evangelization,” he reasserted.He reiterated that the mission of the Cathedral, the “duty of each one of us is to rediscover the living God who comes to us in Jesus Christ. “We need to find new ways to touch others’ hearts,” he said. “We need to find new ways to open them to the truth of God’s loving purposes for their lives.“This Cathedral is the mother and the head of all the churches in this great Archdiocese. And today, we must rededicate ourselves to making this Cathedral the living heart of a new mission to our city and our continent.”And once again he urged the assembly to “live with a new desire to be living stones and to build up God’s Church on Earth.”At the end of the 10 a.m. English Mass, councilmember Jose Huizar thanked the Cathedral’s leadership for opening its doors to bid the last farewell to peace officers. Calling the temple a “living testimony of the diversity of our great city,” on behalf of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council he presented Archbishop Gomez with a resolution honoring the Cathedral as “a place of service to the City of Los Angeles.”Welcoming the remarks were several Angelenos who have made the Cathedral their home church, as well as outsiders.“As the [Cathedral] cornerstone states, this is the House of God for all people,” said Eilene Berg, member of the Immaculate Heart Community, who has been a lector at the 8 a.m. Mass since the Cathedral opened in 2002. “This is a place to celebrate joy, peace, life and relationships,” she said.“I have been coming daily to the noon Mass during my lunch break for the last five years — and I love the sermons, and today’s was beautiful,” said Trinnie De La Garza, a Mission Hills resident who works downtown. “This is the place where I receive peace and then I can go home feeling totally different.”“I was thanking God for all his love,” said Teresa Ceja when explaining what she had written minutes before on one of the 10th anniversary visitors’ book available at the Cathedral’s plaza. The Whittier resident said she and her two daughters Elainie, 17, and Heather, 22, have made the Sunday Mass their weekly tradition for the last five years. “It offers an opportunity to spend quality time together,” they said.“I have never seen something similar to this,” said Father Austin Lowe of Sri Lanka, visiting from Italy. “This is really something unique, its modern art and architecture,” he added, looking up at the Cathedral’s high ceiling minutes before the mid-morning Mass.Also unique was the Mariachi music before the dedication of the St. Juan Diego and Virgin of Guadalupe Chapel.“This is now the home of the tilma,” Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of Columbus told The Tidings. “It is a sign of unity, reconciliation and peace to all people.”The new chapel was made possible with the support of Bill and Helen Close and the Knights of Columbus. It was designed by the architecture firm of Dario Bucheli and Associates.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0807/cathedral/{/gallery}