Interfaith Memorial Prayer Service Honor & Uphold Homeless

An “Interfaith Memorial Prayer Service for the Homeless” was held at the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, on December 21st, 2023. Attendees included Archbishop José H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, representatives and devotees from various religions including Catholicism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, totaling over 200 participants. The Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, Ven. Hui Dong, as well as Ven. Hui Ze along with BLIA Los Angeles Chapter Vice Presidents, Ms. Connie Yip and Echo Tsai, represented Buddhism at the deeply meaningful ceremony.

This annual prayer service has been held every Winter Solstice (December 21st) to raise public awareness about the issue of homelessness and to commemorate the 1,665 homeless individuals who passed away on the streets of Los Angeles from January 1st to November 30th of that year. At the beginning of the ceremony, representatives from each religion were led by Archbishop Gomez and entered the prayer hall.

Archbishop Gomez posed a profound question in his talk: "Who is our true neighbor, when it comes to the issue of homelessness in our city?" He referenced the "Parable of the Good Samaritan" from the Bible, where two passersby ignored a robbery victim, while a compassionate Samaritan came to the victim's aid and took care of him. He urged everyone to learn and embody the compassion of the Samaritan, becoming true neighbors to those living on the streets of our cities.

After the ceremony concluded, all religious representatives gathered in the cathedral to light candles symbolizing each homeless person who passed away. The white candlelight flickered in the serene cathedral, conveying blessings and prayers for each homeless individual, hoping that they could find peace in the heavenly realm they aspired to reach, guided by their respective faiths.