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May 23, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 10   •   Oakland, CA
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Parishioners from St. John the Baptist Parish in San Lorenzo processed through the Holy Door of Mercy at the Cathedral of Christ the Light to gain indulgences.
RaÚl Ayrala/The Catholic Voice

Faithful pass through the Door of Mercy

They came in buses from San Lorenzo and Hayward; on one of the banners they unfurled the face of Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero looked on, and on the other, the photo of Pope Francis washing the feet of a parishioner on Holy Thursday, an image selected by the Diocese of Oakland to symbolize the Jubilee of Mercy.

More than 100 parishioners from St. John the Baptist parish, led by Father David Mendoza Vela, parochial vicar and a Salvadoran, participated in a procession on the afternoon of April 24. They would enter the Cathedral of Christ the Light through the Holy Door of Mercy to gain indulgences promised by the Holy Father for the jubilee. It was also a day to honor Blessed Romero.

With the help of Deacon Jorge Angel, Father Mendoza led a warm Eucharistic celebration during which he called for the protection of his countryman, Blessed Romero.

"The father invited us to the pilgrimage and we gladly accepted," said Consuelo Gonzalez, one of the participants. Esdeybe Chavez said some members of the group belonged to the ministry of the Legion of Mary.

In his homily, Father Mendoza recalled that all "are children of God, disciples and missionaries" and that the disciple follows his master, hears his voice and puts into practice his teachings.

Jose Luis Ramirez brought his musical talent to the choir, which came from San Lorenzo, and said he was impressed by the beauty and breadth of the cathedral, which he visited for the first time.

Ramirez was born in El Húmedo, near Yahualica, Jalisco, and was proud that his little neighborhood of only about 15 families, has produced seven priests and three sisters for the Catholic Church.

Deacon Angel thanked the faithful for their pilgrimage to the cathedral and invited other parish groups who want to earn the indulgence to repeat the experience of the group from San Lorenzo and Hayward.

Father Mendoza said the pilgrimage answered the request of the pope that Catholics visiting the cathedral of a diocese who enter through the Holy Door of Mercy and in the state of grace may gain a plenary indulgence.

The day ended with the pilgrims sharing food, coffee and drinks before returning to St. John the Baptist.

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