By Jessica Easthope
It stands above the buzzing streets in the heart of Corona, on Thursday Our Lady of Sorrows Church’s new bell tower’s chime told hundreds it’s time to celebrate.
“This is a sign of hope for all the church, this is a church that’s fully alive,” said Bishop Robert Brennan.
The bell tower clock is the only public one in the area. For a long time, its hands stood still, but now they tick again with the beat of songs praising Mary the mother of God. The community raised $250,000 to restore it.
“It just goes to show the passion and commitment this community has for Our Lady of Sorrows and for our faith,” said lectpr and parishioner Jenny Alonzo.
Hundreds joined Bishop Robert Brennan in a procession through the streets for the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows, a show of devotion and faith as the Church continues to show support for its immigrant rich population as the city’s experiences a recent influx.
“This is the church, this is the church of today and of the future, we walk together as a church in suffering because we walk together in life,” Bishop Brennan said.
“The church has been the mother of the immigrants and welcoming them with open arms and being there for them especially when everyone else is a little hesitant to welcome them,” said Fr. Manuel de Jesus Rodriguez, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows.
The church was founded 150 years ago by Italian immigrants when Catholics were a minority in the country. For parishioners today, it remains a beacon of hope through modern struggles like the COVID-19 pandemic. The church lost 100 parishioners to the virus – a part of its history they want to leave behind in this new chapter.
“Especially after COVID and so much loneliness and despair, it’s incredible to see all of these folks,” Jenny said.
“We can survive because we know we had a difficult time with the virus, we lost a lot of people from here but today is a victory,” said parishioner Minny Lora.
With the money raised for the new bell tour Our Lady of Sorrows is continuing to improve its facilities for its more than 10,000 parishioners.