“We are taking to the streets the treasures of our Catholic faith for all the world to see,” says Mark Anchor Albert, founding chairman of the Queen of Angels Foundation that is organizing the Sept. 13 Grand Marian Procession that will wind its way through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, ending at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Now marking its fourth anniversary, the elaborate and colorful procession is held to honor the historic, official name of Los Angeles (El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles) near the city’s founding date of September 4, 1871.
It is also a reminder of the religious and spiritual connection of Mary as patroness of Los Angeles. For more than 100 years, the city commemorated its name with a ceremony, Mass and a similar procession in honor of Mary on her Feast Day.
“So many people are amazed to know that our city is named for Mary and the angels,” says Albert. “Our foundation’s mission is to ask our Blessed Mother to shower blessings on our community and the diversity of people that call Los Angeles our home.”
Albert is pleased that every year, more groups and individuals participate in the procession, many carrying festive banners, flowers, flags. Along with numerous Catholic fraternal and papal organizations, many civic groups (including the Los Angeles Fire and Police Departments and the National Guard) are also a part of what Albert calls “a solemn but joyful procession.”
The procession begins at 3 p.m. at Queen of Angels Church (La Placita) on North Main Street with Archbishop José Gomez leading a blessing and invocation. From there participants walk through streets of Los Angeles (less than a mile) heading toward the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
A multi-lingual rosary will be prayed before the 5:30 p.m. Mass with Archbishop Gomez presiding and Auxiliary Bishops Edward Clark and Alexander Salazar concelebrating, followed by a courtyard fiesta.
“I think what makes me the most grateful about the procession is that this is a way to honor those deep roots of the city — which are Catholic,” says Albert. The multiculturalism also deeply inspires him. “We have the wealthy here marching alongside undocumented immigrants,” he says. “We are all children of one God.”
Next year, the procession will be organized differently. It will be held on Labor Day weekend and begin at the Cathedral, ending at La Placita with a festival. Albert says that procession will be an even bigger event that will see more civic involvement.
“This is all part of the new evangelization,” he says, “being out there for the world to see what we Catholics are all about.”
For more information on the Grand Marian Procession, visit: www.thequeenofangels.com or call (213) 687-2645.