Archbishop to unaccompanied immigrant children: 'God is always with us'


Rosaries given to unaccompanied immigrant children by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles are seen before a morning Mass at the Long Beach Convention Center May 30, 2021. (CNS photo/Courtesy Los Angeles Archdiocese)

Long Beach, Calif. — "God is always with us, in good and beautiful times and in difficult times, when we are happy or when we have a sadness," Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles told unaccompanied immigrant children at a Mass May 30.

"That is why it is so important to trust in God. And go to him all the time!" said Gomez, who also is president of the U.S. bishops' conference.

He made the comments in the homily at a Mass he celebrated at the Long Beach Convention Center, which has housed young immigrants since early May.

"God is with us in our hearts. God, who made heaven and earth, and who created each of us knows us and loves us personally," he told the children. "We are very important to God. We always must keep that in mind, and even though we sometimes have difficult situations, we must trust God's plan for our lives."

There was no media access during the Mass. All of the children, ranging in age from 5 to 17 and numbering 148 as of June 1, were invited to participate in the Mass, according to David A. Kosub.

A health science policy analyst with the National Institutes of Health, Kosub has been assigned to the "emergency intake site" in Long Beach as a public information officer for Operation Artemis, the Federal Emergency Management Agency initiative to deal with the upsurge of border crossings from Mexico into the United States.

Basing his homily on each of the three Scripture readings used for the Trinity Sunday Mass, Archbishop Gomez said: "We are sons and daughters of God. It is true that we are sons and daughters of our fathers, but we cannot forget that we are also sons and daughters of God, who is our Father in heaven. If we think about it, it will always give us a lot of peace to know that God loves each of us as his favorite children."

Gomez spoke in Spanish to the children. An English translation of his homily was provided to Catholic News Service by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

"When we are happy and when we have a concern, we are never alone," he said. "God is always with us."

"Always remember that the church is God's family and that all of us are part of God's family," the archbishop said. "In the Catholic Church, we always feel accompanied and supported by all our needs. Our spiritual needs and our material needs."

The children received rosaries at the end of Mass "so that you can also feel the presence of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and our mother," Gomez said. "I always bring the rosary with me. And I pray it every day. And it has always helped me a lot, so I recommend praying the rosary to each of you."

Enter your email address to receive free newsletters from NCR.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here