One thousand pilgrims — the largest group so far scheduled to journey to the Cathedral of Christ the Light— will make their way to Oakland on buses and in carpools from the far northeastern reaches of the diocese.
Banners have been placed inside and outside of all the churches, he said. An evening of reflection on the gift of mercy, including a talk by Rev. Msgr. Antonio Valdivia and music, was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. During Lent, communal reconciliation services were held at each parish in the deanery.
When pilgrimage to the cathedral was considered, the question was whether for each parish to plan a pilgrimage or to all go together.
"Everyone felt it was best to do this as a deanery," Father Rien said.
The pilgrimage will be a full 2½-hours of activities. Each parish will make a banner, and pilgrims will process behind their banners up the Pilgrim's Path from 21st Street in Oakland to the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
The Mass will be celebrated by Rev. Mark Wiesner, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Livermore. Father Wiesner is one of 1,142 Missionaries of Mercy from around the world sent forth by Pope Francis to preach of God's mercy this year. He will preach the homily.
The priests of the deanery will concelebrate.
"It's very important." Father Rien said, "to make sure the liturgy reflects the cultural and ethnic diversity of the deanery."
More than a dozen languages and ethnic groups are represented in the deanery.
"We want to do our best to reflect that diversity," Father Rien said. The Gospel will be in English; the first reading in Spanish and the second in Vietnamese. The petitions will be offered "in as many languages as we can," he said.
Ed Magistrado, music director of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, will direct the music, which will involve musicians from around the deanery, as well as reflect the diversity. The pipe organ, piano, brass and guitars will be in play.
"He's the one who has done the most work with multicultural and multilingual liturgies," Father Rien said of Magistrado.
Father Rien expects great participation from the pilgrims. "What a thrill it will be if everyone is singing," he said.
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