Event commemorates 250 years of Christianity in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
SAN GABRIEL, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of Catholics joined Archbishop José Gomez Saturday in a 10-mile spiritual walk.
The pilgrimage is part of the church's year-long celebration commemorating 250 years of Christianity in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Local Catholics gathered in prayer at Mission San Gabriel Arcángel before heading out on a spiritual pilgrimage through the streets of Los Angeles.
"Pilgrimage is a very traditional Catholic expression of faith," said Vice-Chancellor Archdiocese Father Parker Sandoval. "Our life is a journey, and we believe as a journey toward God. So, the act of walking is in a sense spiritual exercise."
Archbishop José Gomez led the 10-mile walk. The celebration comes as the historic building undergoes renovations after an arson fire destroyed the roof.
Prior to the walk, the participants were invited inside for the first time to see the repairs.
"It's heartbreaking that the fire happened, but I'm thrilled that it's being restored," said Eric Searcy, who participated at Saturday's event. "I think that this place played such an enormous role in this area historically, and for me, spiritually."
The 10-mile journey will be accompanied by relics of Pope John Paul II, St. Mother Teresa and other Saints who visited, served or walked with Angelenos in their lifetime.
"I remember hearing years ago how much of Los Angeles is Catholic, and we're kind of invisible so it's a chance to see each other," Mary Lou Malphus said.
"I walk but I don't usually do this many miles, so we have been trying to gear up," said Anne Sanders. "So, I got up to eight and a half, and I figured I'll be able to handle the whole last mile and a half."
"How else do you get the chance to walk from Mission San Gabriel to the cathedral," said Jean Bowler. "So, that was very enticing for me."
Their walk of faith will take them to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels for a mass.