Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Los Angeles' Most Welcoming Church: The Immigrant Sanctuary at La Placita

Great profile in this weekend's Los Angeles Times of Our Lady Queen of Angels church -- the church located across the street from El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (the birthplace of L.A. and home to Olvera Street). Popularly known by its nickname, "La Placita," the church has played a big role through the years in supporting immigrant rights, as the Times writes:

For a century, the fates of Los Angeles, La Placita church and the priests of the Claretian Missionary order who serve there have been inextricably intertwined with provocative politics and courageous acts of faith.

In the 1920s, Father Medardo Brualla fearlessly entered a quarantined area near the church to minister last rites to those dying of the Black Plague and contracted the disease, dying a few days later.

In the 1960s, Father Thomas Matyschok led parishioners to protest bulldozers tearing down their Chavez Ravine homes for Dodger Stadium.

In the 1980s, Father Luis Olivares braved death threats and political censure to declare the church the city's first sanctuary for undocumented Salvadoran immigrants fleeing civil war.

In the 2000s, Father Richard Estrada helped organize some of the biggest protests in city history, bringing out hundreds of thousands of marchers against legislation aimed at criminalizing illegal immigrants and those who aid them.

With the recent ruling in Arizona, La Placita is once again serving as L.A.'s epicenter for immigrant rights, the paper writes.

We have a soft spot in our hearts for La Placita; it's where we got married in 2002.

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