Good Friday events at Lady of the Angels Cathedral, LA Mission

Thousands of Skid Row residents and other homeless people were treated to a special Easter meal at the Los Angeles Mission Friday during an event that also featured foot-washing services and Easter baskets for

In what is an annual tradition at the mission, a host of celebrities helped serve meals to the roughly 3,000 people attending the banquet of honey-glazed ham with all the fixings. Tim Matheson, Deidre Hall, Kate Linder and
Derek Fisher were among those taking part in the event, which began with a flurry of activity in the mission kitchen at 4:30 a.m.

Julia Villalobos, who lives with her five children at a women's shelter on Skid Row, told news media outlets the annual meal is a welcome break for her family. "It's a help, because sometimes I can't do it, money is not good. So it's a good help,'' Villalobos said.

In addition to the meals, Easter baskets were handed out to more than 1,000 children. "It just changes their day, it changes their week,'' Los Angeles Mission resident and volunteer Marilyn Diaz told the news media as she put finishing touches on the baskets that were being given away. "It makes them excited about something.''

The shoe company etnies, meanwhile, donated 1,500 pairs of shoes for those in need. Over the past two decades, the company has donated nearly 50,000 pairs of shoes for the homeless.

Meanwhile, at the nearby Fred Jordan Mission, volunteers were hard at work preparing for their own Easter feast, which will be held Saturday.

The mission will host a morning Easter service, followed by a luncheon of barbecued chicken, rice, vegetables, bread and fruit cobbler.

Children will also receive Easter baskets with toys and candy, and the crowd will be treated to music, face-painting and balloon animals in a carnival-like atmosphere. The families will also be given food bags as they leave, along with blankets, socks and other necessities.

The Fred Jordan Mission event will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at 445 Towne Ave.

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez will celebrate the Good Friday liturgy at noon at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Good Friday is the day Christians throughout the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus. During the solemn liturgy, Gomez will carry a cross into the cathedral, recalling how Jesus carried a cross along the Via Dolorosa, the "Way of Suffering,'' on his way to being crucified.

Special prayers will be offered for the church and the world, and the cross will be venerated. Holy Communion will then be distributed to the faithful.

The Mass will be streamed live on the cathedral's Facebook page,

Additional liturgies will be celebrated at the cathedral at 3 p.m in English and 7 p.m. in Spanish.

"The events of Good Friday tell us how much God loves us. Jesus Christ died so that we can live. He died for you and for me. That is real. That is personal and that is a beautiful gift that God gives to us,'' he said. "And of
course, we know that the story does not end here, at the foot of the cross. We know that in the shadow of the cross we find the light of the resurrection.''

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