We are sons and daughters of one family,’ archbishop tells assembly at Cultures Mass.“Why don’t we have more of these events?”That was the principal (and enthusiastic) comment of participants following the eighth annual Celebration of Cultures Mass held Sept. 8 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to celebrate Los Angeles’ many ethnic communities.The occasion also offered an opportunity to celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was honored with Las Ma√±anitas, played by the Mariachi Estrella de Jalisco, and a Happy Birthday that the assembly sang by the end of the Mass, led by the archdiocesan Ethnic ministry choir.“We don’t see too much of what we saw here this morning,” said St. Anthony Church parishioner Nicholas Cvjetkovic, whose parish serving the Croatian community is in Chinatown, a few blocks north of the Cathedral. He had walked down the center aisle of the Cathedral with a group of Croatian Americans at the beginning of the colorful ceremony.“I could feel a lot of unity and I just wish we could have more of these events during the year,” said the Cal State Long Beach student, who was dressed in traditional Croatian attire.“This is wonderful! We should have these more than once a year,” said longtime Los Angeles’ St. Eugene parishioners Kate Okoye and Ogechi Mbanu, dressed in traditional Nigerian clothing. “We all have different languages but one God, who loves us no matter what color we have or to what ethnic group we belong. We are all Christians under one God.” “Rooted in Christ. Firm in the Faith” was the theme of this year’s Mass (streamed live for the first time), with Archbishop José Gomez presiding and concelebrated by Cardinal Roger Mahony, Auxiliary Bishops Edward Clark and Alexander Salazar, director of the Office of Ethnic Ministry, and about 20 priest-chaplains of the more than 40 ethnic communities represented in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The nearly packed Cathedral included the consuls of Mexico, France and the Philippines.Opening the liturgy, Aztec dancers moved down the Cathedral’s center aisle, and performed in front of the altar to rhythm set by the drummers, followed by music led by the Ethnic Ministry choir. “Creator of seasons, of people, of nations,” they sang while representatives of different nationalities processed down the center aisle dressed in their traditional festive attire to the delight of the assembly. “Savior of promise, a spirit of freedom. Stand by your people, the nations, survivors.”‘This is who we are’“We can see how the Catholic Church is universal; we all belong to this wonderful family of God,” Archbishop Gomez declared in his introduction, a message he reinforced during the homily.“This is who we are,” he told the assembly after the Tongan community presented the Book of Gospels and the day’s readings were proclaimed in different languages. “To be children of God means to be the Church of God; we are sons and daughters of one family, no matter where our family comes from.”He urged the assembly to follow Blessed Mary’s example who “trusted in God’s plan for her life and shows us how to have a generous heart and do little things for God.”Mentioning the upcoming Year of Faith, Archbishop Gomez encouraged the people to start asking Jesus to “help us grow in our faith,” to “grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ” by re-reading his story, and to “rediscover the beauty of the Catholic faith.”Stating that all people are called to be included in the Tapestries of the Saints that adorn the walls of the Cathedral, he highlighted the example set by the soon-to-be canonized Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Blessed Marianne Cope. He urged the assembly to learn more about the American saints’ stories and to make an effort to discern, like they did, “what is more agreeable to God.” Dressed in traditional Korean hanboks, Angela Ye and Marie Won, wives of Deacons Francisco Ye and Augie Won, said they were happy to share their “uniqueness” during the ceremony.“It’s good to recognize our uniqueness,” said Ye, from Glendale’s Holy Trinity-Sung Sam Korean Catholic Center.“We need to learn to blend with the uniqueness of our own cultures, which makes the Church more colorful,” added Won, a parishioner of St. Bede the Venerable in La Ca√±ada.“It’s not easy to avoid the differences, but it’s not impossible,” said Maria Martinez and her husband Ambrosio, who have been attending the Cultures Mass for the last four years. “We can do it with patience and loving others a little bit more each day.” And the Mexican couple could not help but echo what seemed to be in the mind of most: “We need more of these events during the year.”Asked about the possibility of bringing the ethnic communities together in prayer more than once a year, Michael Lau, president of the Ethnic Ministry’s executive council, organizers of the event, said, “This is just an example of what can be done in each parish, and we do it with no assigned budget.” And, he continued, “What I know is that we need to start to prepare for next year’s celebration.”For more information about the archdiocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries, call (213) 637-7356.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0914/cultures/{/gallery}