Farm workers, labor union members and community leaders joined the family of Cesar E. Chavez April 6 to celebrate the legacy of Chavez, a life-long Catholic and founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW) during the 12:30 p.m. Spanish Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Archbishop José Gomez presided with Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Salazar concelebrating at the 14th annual Mass which celebrated Chavez’s commitment to the struggle for justice and dignity for all workers. Cesar Chavez’s son Paul and Arturo Rodriguez, UFW president, spoke at the end of Mass.

Archbishop Gomez called Chavez “a great leader and a humble man of faith, conviction, sacrifice and hope — a man of prayer and of peace. Learning about his life tells me that he had a deep devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe and that he tried to live the Beatitudes in his daily life.”

The archbishop said he had been “thinking a lot about Chavez lately, as we continue to struggle for immigration reform. To me, justice for immigrants is one of the great human rights issues of our time.”

Chavez, the archbishop asserted, “fought for justice for his people — using the spiritual weapons of prayer, fasting, and self-sacrifice. And he always urged non-violence.”