L.A. Marian festival: The most palpable manifestation of The Great American Catholic Story of Our Time

Following a lengthy parade through the streets of the city’s east end, Los Angeles’ 80th annual homage to the Morenita de Tepeyac will culminate with the usual mega-Mass in an outdoor football stadium for a crowd traditionally in the range of 30,000 people.

Bolstered by continuing waves of an overwhelmingly-Mexican Hispanic migration said to comprise some 70 percent of the LA church, the SoCal fold has more than doubled in size since 1985 to some 5 million Catholics today, a population roughly equivalent to that of the entire Irish church. Not only is it the nation’s largest ecclesial outpost of our time, but — by a margin of some two million souls — it is the largest diocese in Catholicism’s five-century history on these shores.

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Editor’s note: Thursday, December 8th, 2011 is a Holy Day of Obligation, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Link to Vatican document on the Immaculate Conception